Like IAS and IPS introduce Indian Waqf Service: Zafar Mahmood

By MA Baig

New Delhi: Dr. Syed Zafar Mahmood, Joint Secretary to the Government of India on Sachar Committee and President of Zakat Foundation of India, lectured on ‘Waqf (Muslims’ charitable properties) and Sachar Committee Recommendations’ here in a meeting held today at Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) Headquarter.

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Explaining the Sachar Committee’s recommendations, Dr Zafar urged the government to take some correctives measures for making Waqf properties financially viable and soundly managing and functioning. ‘A district level tribunal should be made and appointed to tackle with encroachment problems and the state and nationals levels technical advisory committees should be composed as well as a state level development corporation to develop Waqf’s resources should be made, at present only UP Waqf Board has the Development Corporation’, he added.

Wakf properties, all over India, are estimated at about 6 lakh acres and the book value at about Rs 6,000 crores. However, the market value of these properties will be higher manifold. Dr Zafar expressed surprise on the current annual income from Waqf properties, which is only about Rs 163 crores, which amounts to a meagre rate of return of 2.7%. He disclosed that half of the Waqf properties, between two lakhs to 2.5 lakhs, were encroached and most of the encroachments is by government departments.

Zafar Mahmood addressing the meeting at JIH headquarter

He said, ‘according to the Waqf Act, only a Muslim can become Chief Executive Officer of State Waqf Board, but numbers of Waqf boards don’t have CEOs while majority of them have unqualified CEOs, that why a post graduate exam, similar to UPSC to recruit in the Waqfs can be launched with the name Indian Waqf Service, and a National Waqf board institute can be established to impart Waqfs related trainings and educations.’

‘According to a Supreme Court verdict, if a non-Muslim is in possession of a certain property his right can not be put in jeopardy and such a person is not required to file a suit within a period of one year for declaration of his title, as a Muslim required in the Wakf Act, this ruling should be amended and applied on all,’ Dr Zafar suggested.

He exposed various encroachment cases of Waqf land spread over the country mainly in Hyderabad, Kolkata, Shilong, Haryana, Punjab etc. Maharashtra Waqf Board’s income is collected by Charity Commissioner and used for commission as it was earlier under Charity Commissioner before 1995, so he forced to use the income for Waqf board.

‘Maximum period of lease of Wakf properties should be increased from 3 to 30 years where the property can be used by charitable societies and trusts for building or running educational and health care institutions,’ he advocated.

He further suggested to amend some acts which effect the functioning of the Waqf and to exempt it from Rent Control Act, Land Reforms Act, Agricultural Land Ceilings Act, Registration of Properties Act, Income-tax Act etc, and to apply Public Premises Act on Waqf properties too.

Maulana Abdur Raheem Qureshi, Secretary All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and President of Tameer-e-Millat, Hyderabad addressing to the meeting stated the historical background and the services Muslim rulers rendered in educational and social fields.

Maulana Qureshi addressed that British tried to destroy Muslims’ heritages and grabbed Waqf properties and insulted Mosques, Seminaries and Dargahs, even they made Jama Masjid, Delhi a horse stable, later following on Muslims’ strong pressure they released Waqf properties.

He pointed out on Wakf Act 1995, which rules out those properties of Waqfs which were given or made by non-Muslims rulers and nobility, for example mosques and dargahs and Graveyards, etc.

He recommended to grant Waqfs properties permanent status and to make an act which ensures its permanent status unchallengeable.

Mr Mujtaba Farooq, Secretary JIH was the organiser and Maulana Jalaluddin Umri, President of JIH, presided over the meeting.