Extending lease period of Wakf property to 30 years is among the amendments likely to be introduced in the Wakf Act 1995 to prevent misuse of such institutions, the government said on Tuesday.
"As per the (proposed) amendments, the period of lease of the Wakf property would be increased to 30 years from merely three years at present with the condition that Wakf Boards exercise transparency in the whole process of leasing out its property," Union Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan said.
He said the amendments will seek to make Wakf Tribunals multi-member and give them additional powers of eviction and appeal. The amendment bill is likely to be passed in the upcoming Budget session of Parliament, he said.
Khan said that in view of problems being faced by the Wakfs to get their land freed from illegal possessions, the Haryana government amended the Public Premises Act in 2006.
The amendment in the Haryana Public Premises and Land (Eviction and Rent Recovery) Amendment Bill would substantially help in removing encroachment from Wakf properties, he said, speaking as the chief guest at a three-day national conference on "Protection and Management of Wakfs".
The conference was organised in Ambala by the Haryana Wakf Board with the sponsorship of Union ministry of minority affairs.
Khan assured Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda that he would personally take up the matter with the Union home ministry on priority basis to get the Haryana Public Premises and Land (Eviction and Rent Recovery) Amendment Bill, 2006, cleared as it was still awaiting the President's assent.
Khan said that survey of Wakf property was a key issue. "Hence, we are also bringing about a change in the survey process," he said.
Now, the survey report would be published by the state government instead of the Wakf Board. Similarly, the property could neither be sold nor gifted to anyone and uniform rules would be applicable throughout the country, he said.
Khan said his ministry has initiated a scheme to computerise Wakf records as digitisation of Wakf Boards would go a long way in protecting the Wakf properties from encroachment. He said four lakh acres of land was available with Wakf Boards in the country. Of this, 47,000 acres is available in Haryana. 21,000 acres of it fall in urban areas. He said if this land was developed, Haryana would become more prosperous.
The minister also urged the Wakf Boards to give special emphasis on secondary education.