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Akhilesh keeps promise,set to table waqf Bill

In centre’s footsteps Proposed bill to make waqf land grab punishable with jail upto 3 years or fine upto Rs 10,000

Written by Faisal Fareed | Lucknow | Published: September 8, 2013 5:54:59 am

The Parliament clearing the waqf (Amendment) Bill,2010,has spurred the Akhilesh Yadav government to hurriedly announce its decision to table Uttar Pradesh Muslim waqf Properties (Prevention of Grabbing) Bill 2013 with more stringent provisions to protect waqf properties by making grabbing such land punishable by law and time bound settlement of all waqf issues.

The proposed bill,aimed at appeasing the minority community,will cover all waqf properties provided they are constituted within Islamic Shariah. Once enacted,it will allow encroached waqf properties to be returned with damages to their rightful owners. If someone wants to continue occupying the land,he or she,will be allowed to do so only if the board gives permission.

The proposed bill prohibits grabbing of waqf land as unlawful and an offence punishable under law with imprisonment for a term of six months,which can be extended to three years with a fine of Rs 5,000,which may extend upto Rs 10,000. The appellate authority will be district judge or his nominee not below the rank of Additional District Judge with special direction for giving priority to waqf work over their other functions.

Now,the waqf properties in the state will be regulated by prescribed authority at district level by an officer not below the rank of Additional District Magistrate (ADM). Every action has been made time bound under the proposed waqf Act. The notice given to defaulters by the prescribed authority will be served within six hours after its receipt in the police station. It will be mandatory for the police to take effective step on the orders issued by prescribed authority within 48 hours. Concerned Superintendent or Senior Superintendent of Police will be bound to provide force as may be required by the prescribed authority for enforcement of an order.

“Earlier orders issued by Waqf boards were consigned to dust with no action by district authorities. It will now become mandatory for them to take action,” Mushtaq Ahmed Siddiqui,high court lawyer and a member of the committee constituted to draft the proposed bill said.

No waqf land will be allowed to be occupied unless the standard user charges are decided and are paid regularly with annual enhancement of 10 per cent and a general enhancement as warranted by circumstances.

Meanwhile,the executive committee of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board,too,will be meeting on September 22 to review the amendments done in Centre’s waqf Act. “We will discuss it during our meeting. The proposed waqf bill of UP will also come up for discussion. We are satisfied that governments have at least woken up to our demands,” Kamal Faruqui,executive committee member,AIMPLB stated.

At present,Uttar Pradesh does not have its own Act to govern waqf properties and it is regulated by central waqf Act 1995. Samajwadi Party (SP) in its election manifesto had promised to enact a separate law for the protection of waqf properties. A committee headed by minister for minority welfare and waqf,Azam Khan,and including Additional Advocate General Zafaryab Jilani,High Court lawyer Mushtaq Ahmed Siddiqui and several others was constituted.

The committee finalised its draft for the proposed bill in June this year. Now,Azam Khan has announced to table the bill in coming Assembly session,which begins from September 16.

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