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Khurshid proposes Women Representation in Wakf Amendment bill
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 08:22:02 PM, IANS
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New Delhi: Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Tuesday introduced the Wakf (Amendment) Bill, 2010, in the Lok Sabha that seeks to address the lapses in the Wakf Act, 1995, and also provides for representation of women, professionals and experts in the wakf councils.
The bill seeks to address the inadequacy of data on waqf properties, encroachment, development of waqf properties and the absence of a statutory obligation to ensure flow of information from the state waqf boards and state governments to the central waqf council.
The minister said the bill is proposed to amend the Wakf Act, 1995, to provide a specific time period for completion of survey of such properties and ensure that the list based on the survey data is "appropriately reflected while updating the land records by the revenue authorities".
The bill seeks change in the composition of the Central Wakf Council and State Wakf Boards "so as to provide for representation of women, professionals and experts".
It also seeks to prohibit the sale and gift of wakf properties.
Among other things, the bill also seeks to provide: "stringent penal provisions to prevent encroachments and to streamline the process of removal of encroachments."
"For increasing the maximum permissible period of lease or sub-lease of wakf properties from three years, as at present, to 30 years."
"Statutory power of monitoring to the Central Wakf Council and to authorise it to issue directives and advice in specific cases, along with the provision for independent dispute resolution machinery in the shape of board of adjudication to be constituted by the central government, to be presided over by a retired judge of the Supreme Court."
"For constituting the tribunals, for the determination of all disputes, questions and other matters relating to wakf of wakf properties, as a three member body consisting of a person not below the rank of district, session or civil judge Class I as the chairman and two members, namely, an officer from the state civil service equivalent in rank to that of additional district magistrate and another person having knowledge of Muslim law and jurisprudence."
Khurshid said the Sachar Committee in its report submitted to the prime minister November 2006, had suggested "certain amendments to the Act relating to women's representation, review of the composition of the Central Wakf Council and the State Wakf Boards, a stringent and more effective approach to countering encroachments of wakf properties and other matters."
The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Wakf in its third report presented to the Rajya Sabha March,4, 2008, had made recommendations for a wide range of amendments.
The recommendations of the JPC were considered by the Central Wakf Council, Khurshid said.
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