Administration Of Wakf In India
Administration In General: -
Usually a wakf has a range of beneficiaries. Thus, the founder makes arrangements beforehand by appointing an administrator (called nāẓir or mutawallī or ḳayyim) and lays down the rules for appointing successive administrators. The founder may himself choose to administer the wakf during his lifetime. In some cases, however, the numbers of beneficiaries are quite limited. Thus, there is no need for an administrator, and the beneficiaries themselves can take care of the wakf (since they are regarded the virtual owners).
The administrator, like other persons of responsibility under Islamic law, must have capacity to act and contract. In addition, trustworthiness and administration skills are required. Some scholars require that the administrator of this Islamic religious institution be a Muslim, though the Hanafis drop this requirement.
As per Wakf Act 1954 (later Wakf Act 1993) enacted by Government of India, Wakfs are categorized as
· Wakf by user such as Graveyards, Musafir Khanas (Sarai) and Chowltries etc.,
· Wakf under Mashrutul-khidmat (ServiceInam)such as Khazi service, Nirkhiservice, Pesh Imam service and Khateeb service etc.,
· Wakf Alal-aulad is dedicated by the Donor (Wakif) for the benefit of their kith and kin and for any purpose recognised by Muslim law as pious, religious or charitable.
After the enactment Wakf Act 1954, the Union government directed to all the states governments to implement the Act for administering the wakf institutions like Mosques,Dargah, Ashurkhanas, Graveyards, Takhiyas, Iddgahs, Imambara, Anjumans and various religious and charitable institutions.
In India, the management of Wakf is undertaken by the Central Wakf Council, India, a statutory body under Government of India, which also oversees State Wakf Boards. In turn the State Wakf Boards work towards management, regulation and protect the Wakf properties by constituting District Wakf Committees, Mandal Wakf Committees and Committees for the individual Wakf Institutions. As per the report of Sachar Committee (2006) there are about 5 lakh registered Wakfs with 600,000 acres (2,400 km2) land in India, and Rs. 6,000 crore book value.
Central Wakf Council: -
Central Wakf Council, India is an Indian statutory body established in 1964 by the Government of India under Wakf Act, 1954 (now a sub section the Wakf Act, 1995) for the purpose of advising it on matters pertaining to working of the State Wakf Boards and proper administration of the Wakfs in the country.
The Council is headed by a Chairperson, who is the Union Minister Incharge of Wakfs, while Secretary is the Chief Executive of the Council, there are maximum 20 other members, appointed by Government of India as stipulated in the Wakf Act. Presently the chairperson is Salman Khursheed, the Minister of State for Ministry of Minority Affairs, which overlooks its functioning.
Functioning Of The Council: -
Central Wakf Council normally meets twice in a year. However, the Committees of Central Wakf Council, which consists of its members meet as often as possible to transact business regarding the monitoring of the programmes of the Council, administrative and financial matters, implementation of the scheme for the Development of Urban Wakf Properties and Educational schemes of the Council. the Committees also discharge the functions entrusted to it by the Council from time to time.
The main function of the Central Wakf Council is to advise the Government of India on matters concerning the working of Wakf Boards and the due administration of Wakfs in the country. Beside that the important issues affecting the community espacially those pertaining to religious matters/Islamic affairs like administration of Mosques, Dargahs and proper management of properties are also considered by the Council/its Committees. Whenever matters of general interest regarding management of Wakfsin States are to be taken up at the level of the Central Government, the same are generally referred to the Central Wakf Council.
Administration Of Wakf: -
The Central Government is responsible for the implementation of the Wakf Act. It has been taking up issues of common concern to promote the interests of Wakfs in the country. The Wakf Act, 1954 had provisions for survey of Wakfs, constitution of Central Wakf Council and State Wakf Boards etc. For better interpretation of the provision of the Act keeping in view the objective of the legislation, the Wakf Act, 1954 was amended many times. Finally a comprehensive and land mark legislation i.e. Wakf Act, 1995 was enacted by the Government of India in November, 1995, which became effective from 01.01.1996. In contrast to the previous Act, this Act is applicable throughout the country except for Jammu & Kashmir and Dargah Khwahja Saheb, Ajmir.
Sec 32 (2)(c) reads that:
“Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, the functions of the Board shall be to give directions for the administration of wakfs”
The provision is of general nature but the directions of the board must be lawful and fall within the competence of the board as the superintending authority of the wakfs.
The board has to maintain a record containing the details regarding the origin, income, object and beneficiaries of every wakf [sec 32 (2) (a)]. It is one of the basic functions of the board to see to the proper application of the income of the wakf properties, in accordance with the objects and purpose of the wakf. Misapplication and misappropriation of the income from the wakf properties have become a common feature and the board has to make a lynx eyed scrutiny of the income and the expenses of every wakf [Sec 32(2)(b)]. The inspectors and superintendents of wakfs should make periodical and surprise scrutiny of the accounts of the wakfs and must be held responsible for any lapse on their part. The power to frame schemes for management of wakfs is conferred on the board and this power has to be excercised after due notice to the Mutawalli and to all parties affected and after giving them sufficient opportunities of being heard [Sec 32 (2)(d)]. This is done by the Board on its own motion or on the application of not less than 5 persons interested in any wakf to frame a scheme for the administration of that wakf in consultation with the mutawalli and the applicants, if it is satisfied that the framing of a scheme is necessary or desirable [Sec 69]. The Board has power to issue directions: -
i. For the utilisation of the surplus income consistent with the objects of the wakfs
ii. For the manner of utilising the income where the object of the wakf is not disclosed in any written instrument
iii. Where any object of a wakf has ceased to exist or has become incapable of achievement [Sec 32 (2)(e)].
The board is empowered to scrutinise and approve the budget submitted by the mutawallis and to arrange for the auditing of the accounts of the Wakfs. This power must be exercised by the board not in a casual or cavalier manner, but with a deep sense of duty. In case of public trusts and endowments which are administered under schemes framed by the courts, the annual accounts and budget estimates submitted to the courts were never seriously scrutinised but were merely recorded [Sec 32 (2)(f)]. The Board has power to remove Mutawallis in accordance of the Provision of Wakf Act, 1995(Sec 63 & 64) [Sec 32 (2)(g)]. The board is empowered to take measures to recover lost properties of any wakf [Sec 32 (2)(h)]. The board has the power to institute and defend suits and proceedings relating to wakfs. The board is a body corporate and shall by the said name sue and be sued. This power is inherent in the every constitution of the board in which is vested and general superintendence of all wakfs in the state [Sec 32 (2)(i)]. One of the most important function of the board is to sanction any transfer of immovable property of a wakf by way of sale, gift, mortgage, exchange or lease, in accordance with the provisions of this Act: Provided that no such sanction shall be given unless at least two- thirds of the members of the Board vote in favour of such transaction [Sec 32 (2)(j)]. The Board is entrusted with the administration of wakf fund in accordance with the sec 76 of this act [Sec 32 (2)(k)]. The Board is entitled to call for such returns, statistics, accounts and other information from the mutawallis with respect to the wakf property as the Board may, from time to time, require under their management. [Sec 32 (2)(l)]. The Board has the power to inspect, or cause inspection of, wakf properties, accounts, records or deeds and documents [Sec 32 (2)(m)]. The Board is empowered to investigate and determine the nature and extent of wakf and wakf property, and to cause, whenever necessary, a survey of such wakf properties [Sec 32 (2)(n)]. And finally it gives residuary power to the Board to do generally all such acts as may be necessary for the control, maintenance and administration of the wakfs in the state [Sec 32 (2)(o)].
Current Status of Wakf In India: -
The subject of "Wakf" is relative to Entry No. 10 "Trust and trustees" and No. 28 "Charities and charitable institutions, charitable and religious endowments and religious institutions" in the concurrent list attached to the 7th Schedule to the Constitution of India. Supervision over the administration of wakfs is, therefore, the responsibility of both the Central and State Governments.
According to PM’s High Level Committee on the status Indian Muslims, there are:
· More than 4.9 lakh registered Wakfs spread over different states and union territories of India.
· The total area under Wakf properties all over India is estimated at about 6 lakh acres and the book value at about Rs 6,000 crores.
· The market value of these properties will be higher manifold.
· A recent estimate of the current value of Wakf properties in Delhi alone is in excess of Rs. 6,000 Crores (Rs. 60 billion).
· A good number of the Wakf properties in urban areas are found to be located in city centres where the current value is many times more than the book value.
· The current annual income from these properties is only about Rs. 163 crores, which amounts to a meagre rate of return of 2.7 per cent.
· The current market value of the Wakf properties can be put at Rs. 1.2 lakh crores (1,200 billion). So the current return of 163 crores on the current market value comes out to be meagre 0.135 percent which is pathetic.
· If these properties are put to efficient and marketable use they can generate at least a minimum return of 10 per cent which is about Rs. 12,000 crores per annum.
· If some of these Wakf properties situated in prime locations across the country are developed and put to commercial use, their market value and annual income will shoot up.
· The enhanced Wakf income could be utilized to upgrade the educational status and improve other human development dimensions of the beneficiaries of Wakfs.
The author can be reached at: email@example.com