Delhi Waqf Board has no lands in Delhi

New Delhi: Former secretary of Delhi Waqf Board, Azim Akhtar, said in a statement here on 30 March that factually speaking Delhi Waqf Board has no land of its own in Delhi. Elucidating this, he said that way back in 1867 the British government through an ordinance had acquired all waqf lands in Delhi by virtue of which all lands and properties of waqf became government lands and properties. He said that that ordinance is still in force and it is because of this that in the column of “Waqf revenue ownership”, “government daulat-e nadaar” is written which means that the owner of the land is the government. He said that in view of this, no land in Delhi belongs to Delhi Waqf Board and that the ownership of all lands is vested in the government. He said that till date no one either made an appeal in a court of law against this ordinance or got it declared null and void.

He said that in 1952, when DDA was constituted, government acquired all waqf lands and gave these to DDA. He said that if someone asks why these waqf lands were passed on to the DDA, it can be said that (by virtue of that ordinance of 1867) these lands or properties belonged to government and not to waqf or Muslims. He said that in 1996 when he was secretary of Delhi Waqf Board he wanted to see the file/document under which the government had acquired waqf properties and given it to the DDA but surprisingly there were no such document, ordinance etc in Waqf Board’s records.

Azim Akhtar, who was earlier ADM of North Delhi, said that there is a particular procedure for acquiring any land. If, under section 4 a land is given to someone else, the person occupying that land can claim occupancy of that land, after which the case goes to ADM’s court. Thereafter, a notification is issued to the effect that the land is being acquired in public interest and hence the occupant is given compensation. He said that since the Waqf Board did not make any claim at that time or thereafter, no compensation was given to it and if it would have made the claim, it would certainly have been given the compensation.

Regarding CBI enquiry into Waqf Board’s affairs, he said that the first question is: who will do the investigation? And if an investigation is undertaken, records of the past 50 years will have to be examined. He said that if someone wants to grab waqf land he cannot do it without the cooperation of insiders, i.e., employees or officers of Waqf Board, and in such matters everyone, from top to bottom is complicit. He said that when he was secretary of Waqf Board for seven months, he himself had demanded an enquiry by CBI but no one supported him. In reply to a question as to how the acquired lands can be regained by the Waqf Board, he said that nothing can be regained unless the ordinance itself is declared null and void and for this a long struggle, agitation, demonstration etc will have to be undertaken in order to compel the government to abolish the ordinance. He said that earlier DDA had no land but government acquired Waqf Board’s 75% land and gave it to DDA. Now there will be a long struggle to regain the lost land.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2011 on page no. 3

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