Flouting the Wakf Amendment Rules, which say that any board of Wakf has to be constituted within six months, the Chandigarh Wakf Board committee has not been reconstituted, even after eight months have passed since expiration of its tenure.
As per the amendment rules-2013, the tenure of Wakf Board gets over after every five years, after which new candidates are appointed and a new committee is constituted. There are supposed to be up to seven members in the committee, including two women.
The members of the previous committee have been writing to the home secretary and the UT deputy commissioner to get the names of all who had applied to get their membership approved, but to no avail. The committee has to appoint up to seven members, but there are a lot of people who have applied for the board’s membership. The issue has been moving between the offices of DC and home secretary, said a former senior member of the Wakf Board.
A few months back, sub-divisional magistrate (SDM-east) Danish Ashraf was made the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Chandigarh Wakf Board, but no meeting has been conducted to date. Meanwhile, some of the members also claim that since the committee has not been formed yet, all the schemes meant for the Muslim community under the Wakf Board are going in vain and in the absence of a Wakf Board committee, some members are trying to sell off the Wakf properties illegally, as there is no official authority to initiate any action.
The sources informed that the Chandigarh Wakf Board owns over 30 notified properties across the city, but some of them have been acquired by former members, electricity board and others. Member of the previous Wakf Board committee Zamir Ahmed had recently written to the UT home secretary, stating that the Chandigarh Wakf Board has been lying defunct since over eight months, due to which the poor Muslims are suffering.
“Muslim community in our city that belongs to very poor strata is in dire need of food and shelter. We had planned that we will create a spacious area on one of our lands lying in Khuda Lahora for the poor Muslims coming from outside and will provide them shelter, food and also education to the children. However, the plan can never be implemented till the committee gets reconstituted, officially,” said Ahmed.
In the past many years, the Chandigarh Wakf Board committee got constituted only twice, out of which, it was bifurcated once. The sources said in 2003, Central Wakf Council had given some funds to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh Wakf Board, in which Chandigarh Wakf Board had got a share worth Rs 1 crore. However, this amount was never utilised, but the interest generated out of it was paid as salaries to the employees of the board. The members told that the amount is still lying in the bank.
Besides, the UT administration also provides grants worth Rs 10-15 lakh annually to the Chandigarh Wakf Board. However, going by the records, the Chandigarh Wakf Board has done nothing so far to support the poor members of the Muslim community in the city.
Chandigarh Wakf Board CEO Danish Ashraf maintained that the management of the Wakf board is a sensitive matter. “Since my joining, we have focussed on encroachment-related cases of Wakf.”