WAQF ACT (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Gov. Initiative)

News-CRUX-10     19th March 2024        
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Context: Recently, following a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) investigation revealing that approximately 70 percent of the four lakh acres of land under Wakf administration had either been encroached upon or sold at nominal prices.

Recommendation of joint parliamentary committee (JPC)

  • Current Scenario: Under the Wakf Act, encroachers are currently evicted without facing any legal consequences.
  • Proposed Amendment: Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed advocates for applying the provisions of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Persons) Act (1971) to Wakf encroachers.
  • Penalties: Encroachers could face imprisonment for up to 25 years under the proposed amendment.
  • Proposed Accountability Measures: The proposed amendment suggests that officials involved in illegal activities will lose their jobs and could be imprisoned for a maximum of 7 years.
  • Deterrent Effect: The aim is to create a deterrent against encroachment, which has persisted over the last two decades.
  • Nationwide Implementation: Efforts are underway to extend the application of the Public Premises Act to Wakf properties nationwide, building upon successful implementations in states like Karnataka.

Waqf Act

  • About: The Waqf Act, 1995, replaced the earlier Waqf (Amendment) Act, 1984, and became effective on January 1, 1996.
  • Objectives: The Act aims to enhance the administration of auqaf (charitable properties) and related matters.
  • Challenges in Effectiveness: Despite its implementation, there is a prevalent perception that the Act has fallen short in significantly improving the administration of auqaf.

Joint Parliamentary Committee

  • About: The committee is established when a motion is adopted by one house and receives support or agreement from the other house.
  • Presiding Chiefs' Communication: Alternatively, the two presiding chiefs of both houses can correspond, communicate, and jointly establish the parliamentary committee.