By Accommodation Times Bureau
Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Wednesday in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha he said, Waqf Board is empowered to manage the waqf property and take legal action against unauthorized occupation and encroachment of such properties.
He said, “As per provisions of section 32 of the Waqf Act 1995 as amended, general superintendence of all auqaf in a State is vested with the State Waqf Board (SWB) and the Waqf Board is empowered to manage the waqf property and take legal action against unauthorized occupation and encroachment of such properties. Further, as per section 54 and 55 of the Waqf Act, SWB may take action for the removal of encroachment from the encroacher. Hence such details are not maintained by the Central Government.”
Major provisions added in the amended Waqf Act 1995 giving more power to State/UT Waqf Boards to deal with encroachment on waqf properties inter alia include stringent definition of encroacher mandate to State Governments to appoint Survey Commissioners and complete the survey of waqf properties in a time-bound manner rigorous imprisonment for alienation of waqf properties without prior approval of the State/UT Waqf Boards; alienation of waqf property to be cognizable and non-bailable offence, three-member Tribunals with extended jurisdiction to deal with disputes concerning eviction of a tenant.
Central Government monitors compliance of various provisions of Waqf Act by State Governments/ State Waqf Boards from time to time.
As per information furnished by the State Waqf Boards to Central Waqf Council, the annual income from statutory contribution collected by SWBs under section 72 of the Waqf Act, 1995 as amended for the Financial Year 2015-16 is Rs.29,78,06,985 including Haryana State Waqf Board, the minister said.
Further, the release said, the Ministry does not maintain the information of the Schemes being run by the State/UT Waqf Boards in the country.