Stringent waqf law likely soon, says Prof Saifuddin Soz
A Rajya Sabha committee, which is studying the new amended Muslim waqf law, has suggested that all the properties occupied by institutions and individuals illegally be brought back.
"It is going to be a comprehensive piece of legislation. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha and when it came to the Rajya Sabha, we felt we could contribute a bit more. So, the bill was sent to the select committee ," Prof Saifuddin Soz, chairman of Rajya Sabha Committee on Wakf Board, said.
The committee has toured J&K to understand the system and management of the waqf properties in the state. Within days after the bill’s amended passage in the Lok Sabha, the bill became controversial . Muslim lawmakers said the bill was brought in Friday afternoon when they were absent.
Its authors were accused of wrongly defining waqf, mutawallis and waqf survey and even attempting to open the benefits of these properties to non-Muslims. As it moved to the Rajya Sabha , elders choose to send the bill to a select committee. The new draft is expected to add stringent penal provisions in the Waqf Act 1995 for encroachment of waqf properties. It is expect to address issues like encroachment, data inadequacy besides giving more teeth to the Central Waqf Council and Waqf Boards.
Muslims, said BJP national spokesman Prakash Javdekar who is also member of the committee, have enough of waqf property scattered across the country. "We want it to be organised in such a way so that it funds the capacity building of the community."
Soz said the committee is not aware of the scale of unauthorised occupations on the waqf properties across India, but it is very huge. Some of the best companies in India are also accused of encroaching upon the waqf properties. In fact, the CVC has asked the Maharashtra government to probe Mukesh Ambani’s new skyscraper residence, a part of which is allegedly on the waqf land.