With influential Muslim clerics coming out in strong opposition to certain provisions in the Wakf (Amendment) Bill,passed by the Lok Sabha in May,Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday quietly moved to refer the legislation to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha.
Sources said Khurshid has written to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari suggesting that the Bill be referred to a select committee for wider consultations. The move would result in further delay in passage of the Bill,which Khurshid considers a historic step in Wakf reforms.
The Bill had been showcased by the Congress government as a pivotal step to protect Wakf lands from being misused and to deal with issues of encroachment. However,it had drawn the ire of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB),with Muslim clerics even approaching the PM with their objections.
They objected to the Bill provisions making registration of Wakf properties mandatory. Rajya Sabha MP Mohammed Adeeb,who is also a member of the AIMPLB,said an unbelievable number of Wakf properties are unregistered now. To say that waqf land or property will have no legal identity if not registered cannot be accepted, he said. The AIMPLB also argues that making registration mandatory could affect the communitys claims on Babri Masjid,as it was not registered.