The government has rejected a recommendation of the Sachar Committee
to create Indian Wakf Services on the lines of the civil services to
appoint officers to boards that manage Muslim religious and
Right To Information (RTI) application was filed to know the reasons
behind the rejection of the recommendation by the minority affairs
ministry, but it has refused to reply.
had filed an RTI application to know the reasons for rejecting the
recommendation of the Sachar Committee, but the ministry refused to
give an answer for not creating Wakf services saying that it does
not come under the purview of the RTI Act," Zafar Mahmood, president
of the Zakat Foundation of India, told IANS. The NGO works for
issues concerning the Muslim community.
senior official in the ministry told IANS on condition of anonymity:
"The government has rejected it as to create these services is a
complicated process. Also, the Wakf Boards across the country are in
a pathetic condition."
According to the Wakf Act of 1995, only an Indian Administrative
Service (IAS) officer or an officer appointed by Union Public
Service Commission (UPSC) can be appointed as CEO of the central and
state wakf boards and the officer has to be a Muslim.
However, the Sachar Committee appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh to study and prepare a report on the social, economic and
educational status of Indian Muslims found that there was an acute
dearth of Muslim officers in the country.
Sachar report said "where a CEO is not high ranking in the hierarchy
of the state bureaucracy, the interests of the Wakf board often
committee recommended that in the civil services tests conducted by
the UPSC, an examination for the cadre of Indian Wakf Services
should also be included and those Muslims candidates who qualify in
the examinations be made CEOs of Wakf boards.
who was once an officer on special duty in the Prime Minister's
Office, pointed out that "most of the CEOs of the 27 Wakf boards in
the country are promoted officers and not of the appropriate
seniority level, which is not in consonance with the Wakf Act".
Under the concept of Wakf, Muslims adhering to the principles of
'endowment' embedded in Islam donate large and valuable amounts of
property in the name of Allah. The proceeds from these properties -
from their sale, rent or use for the welfare of the community - are
dedicated to meeting the needs of the poor and the maintenance of
There are 27 Wakf boards in the country functioning under different
state governments. The states of Haryana and Punjab have a joint
Wakf board. Apart from these Wakf boards there is a Central Wakf
Council which gives direction to them.
India, with 150 million Muslims, has the second largest Muslim
population in the world after Indonesia.
Khalid Akhter can
be contacted at