Decks cleared for entry of women into Wakf boards

Decks cleared for entry of women into Wakf boards

Better deal for Muslim women soon.

The provision was incorporated in a Wakf Board Bill passed by the Lok Sabha on Friday to streamline functioning of the boards across the country and preventing their encroachment on wakf lands.

The bill is aimed at quickening the pace of clearing encroachment from the wakf land and other assets.

Replying to a debate, Minorities Affairs minister Salman Khurshid said the boards would now “look after (women and children) better.” He said the encroached land will be claimed back or a market rent be fixed. The wakf land will not be allowed to sell. The wakf tribunal will decide all cases. The unauthorised claim on the wakf board will invite jail for two years or a fine of Rs 15,000, the minister said.

Taking note of  BJP member Shanawaz Hussain’s comment that in Karnataka the encroached Wakf Board land has been easily restored, Khurshid said: “We have written to all state governments for speedy restoration of the encroached Wakf land. Wakf records will be computerised.”

The bill seeks to amend certain provisions of the Wakf Act, 1995, and aims at providing stringent penal provisions for encroachment of Wakf assets.

The minister also said that as the Centre does not want to interfere in the state affairs, there will not be any wakf cadre. “But wakf boards will be definitely strengthened by removing any gaps in their functioning,” he said.

Senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said “there is no ban on women becoming board members. In any way, it is a welcome step.”

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