Govt turned down Sachar’s recommendation for Wakf cadre


In order to minimise irregularity pertaining to waqf land across India and to ensure proper functioning of the Central Waqf Council and State Waqf Boards the Sachar Committee had recommended a new cadre on the line of civil services. But the recommendation was turned down by the ministry of minority affairs on the ground that such kind of proposal was neither pragmatic nor legally viable.

Waqf properties across India are worth Rs 1.2 lakh crore and if managed properly it could have fetched annual returns of Rs 12,000 crore instead of only Rs 163 crore. According to Justice Rajender Sachar there is no legal hurdle as Article 312 of the Constitution provides that parliament can enact law that can pave the way for the creation of one or more all India services common to the Union and the states.

The rejection of Sachar’s recommendation became known only after Zafar Mahmood, officer on special duty with the Sachar Committee filed an application under the RTI Act. Mahmood said, “We found that a deputy secretary with the ministry had struck down the recommendation for an Indian Waqf Service in three sentences.” The notings of deputy secretary on the Sachar’s recommendation says, “The state wakf board has the autonomy to decide the number of personnel, their deployment status or pay. The state boards do not have a defined relationship with the CWC (Central Waqf Council) unlike the position between the states and the central government and, therefore, replication of an all-India cadre on the lines of the civil services is not practicable. Amendment to the Waqf Act to induce the envisaged centralisation may neither be legally feasible nor desirable.” 

Sachar’s recommendation for dedicated waqf officials was also felt because most of the 27 waqf boards are headed by unqualified persons and of them most are holding the post as an additional charge. It was also outlined by the committee that 200 highly qualified officers was the need of the hour for smooth functioning of the boards all over India.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 April 2011 on page no. 8

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