Wakf Act-1995 to be amended: Minister

Union Minister of Minority Affairs K. Rahman Khan on Tuesday said that the ministry has mooted major amendments to the Wakf Act-1995 to "strengthen" Wakf institutions across the country.

Speaking as a chief guest on a three-day national conference on "Protection and Management of Wakfs", organised by Haryana Wakf Board in Ambala, Khan said Wakf properties will not be allowed to be either sold or gifted but the period of lease will be increased from three years to 30 years.

"Wakf boards will have to exercise transparency in the process of leasing out its properties and follow uniform rules to check the misuse. Wakf tribunals will now be multi-member tribunals and be given additional powers of eviction and appeal while hearing property cases," he added. Khan said these amendments will be moved in the budget session of the Parliament through a Bill.

On the issues of survey of Wakf properties, Khan said the report of the 4 lakh-acres of Wakf properties in India will be published by state governments instead of Wakf boards. "The ministry has also initiated a scheme of computerisation of Wakf records. Digitalization of the Wakf boards will go a long way in protecting these properties from encroachment," he said.

Khan also assured Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda that he will push the Home Ministry to clear Haryana Public Premises and Land (Eviction and Rent Recovery) Amendment Bill-2006, which has been waiting for the assent of the President. He appreciated that in view of the problems being faced by Wakfs to get their land freed from illegal possessions, Haryana has amended the Public Premises Act.

"As many as 47,000 acres of Wakf land was available in Haryana, out of which, 21,000 acres was in urban areas. This land should be developed," said Khan.

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