123 Waqf Properties to return to Delhi Waqf Board
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has decided to return 123 prime properties to the Delhi Waqf Board. The Cabinet decided to denotify these historic properties—mainly mosques, graveyard and dargahs—and vest them under the Delhi Waqf Board. These are located in and around Connaught Place, Mathura Road, Lodhi Road, Man Singh Road, Pandara Road, Ashoka Road, Janpath, Parliament House, Karol Bagh, Sadar Bazaar, Darya Ganj and Jangpura. Each property has a mosque on the premises; some have shops and residents as tenants.
The properties had been acquired by the Land and Development Office during the British administration which was developing the New Delhi as capital of British India during 1911-1915. The matter had been either under litigation or pending for administrative decision for the last 40 years.
The community members had raised the issue of return of these Waqf Properties in 1974. The then government had entrusted the matter to a committee headed by Shri S. M. H. Burney. The committee had reviewed the status of 209 such properties. Another committee was set up under the leadership of then Housing Minister Shri H. K. L. Bhagat in 1980 which recommended that 123 of these properties be returned to the Delhi Waqf Board. But the Vishwa Hindu Parishad went to the High Court against the decision where the matter was under litigation 2011. The Delhi High Court in its judgement asked the Government to restore the properties to the Delhi Waqf Board and implement the decision within six month. The Union Cabinet recently decided to return the properties to the Board after taking the advice of Attorney General.
According to Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mr. K. Rahman Khan, any such properties that are under illegal occupation, would be vacated under the new Waqf Amendment Act. He said notification from the Urban Development Ministry would set the final seal on the decision to return the properties to the Delhi Waqf Board.