Special Reports

Permission to sell waqf properties will destroy waqfs

New Delhi: The inclusion of a proposal to allow the sale of waqf properties in the proposed Waqf Bill will be detrimental to the future of waqfs in India, said Mufti Ataur Rahman Qasmi, Chairman of the Shah Waliullah Institute, while delivering a lecture on “Waqf Amendmend  Bill: scope and apprehensions” at the headquarters of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawrat here on 28 June. He discussed the implications of sale, exchange, lease and rent of waqf properties. He said that the provision of sale and exchange of waqf properties must not be included in the proposed Act. Provisions of sale will result in permanent loss of waqf properties, he said adding that though the Act will permit sale of properties under adverse occupation which are not retrievable but the same will be used to sell even other properties by the unscrupulous mutawallis and waqf boards. Such sales will only result in personal benefits to some corrupt members of waqf boards and trustees. He warned that there are many land-sharks ready to grab the opportunity. As of abolishing the provision of lease of waqf properties, it would lead to a deluge of court cases and permanent loss of properties in areas where there are no Muslim populations like Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Renting properties on short-term lease saves these properties and allows local waqf boards to auction the lease every few years. It is important to note that many of the waqf properties particularly in the states of United Punjab (Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Chandigarh) do not have proper waqf deeds, he said. Maulana Qasmi suggested that renting of waqf properties should continue and should be done by auction. He appealed to the scholars and leaders of the Muslim community to come together shedding their personal and sectarian differences to save the waqfs and stop the dangerous provision of sale of waqf properties. They should also suggest beneficial measures for the bigger and long-time interest and to safeguard the waqf properties in India.(Nadim Ahmad)

Mufti Ataur Rahman Qasmi speaking

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 July 2013 on page no. 13

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