In India, the Waqf Board, a statutory institution that Muslims manage, gets criticized day in and day out. How far such criticism is right or wrong is a matter of opinion. Whether some properties donated for charitable purposes benefit the poor and oppressed Muslims or not? Again this is a matter of opinion. The Waqf Board does not respond to criticism and does not give clarifications.
So, criticizing the Waqf Board is futile and serves no purpose. I feel that we must change the gears, and instead of merely attacking the Board for its failures, we must adopt a positive and corrective approach.
Waqf Board requires two-pronged action. First is streamlining its office administration, and the second is clearing the encroachments, which can generate huge income.
1) Streamlining the internal administration:
A) As soon as a representation is given, the Board office should acknowledge that the Govt rule of Sakala must be followed. Within one week of receiving the application, it must be settled, or additional documents must be called for. The matter must be resolved within one month, and the applicant must not be forced to go to Court. As a first step, all the present cases pending for more than two months must be cleared within two months by calling the applicants and discussing their issues. The Waqf officers will also save time without running to the Courts.
B) Most of the Board’s time is spent informing committees of mosques and other waqf institutions. Some solution has to be found to reduce this workload.
C) Almost all the Chairmen and members of the District Advisory Committees are nominated on the recommendations of the politicians. These politicians recommend the names of their stooges from their political parties. These semi-literate and corrupt persons damage the waqf institutions’ reputation and invite criticism. Instead, qualified persons like retired officers, educationists, professionals, advocates, and social workers should be represented in the District Waqf Advisory Committees and the Managing Committee of the Waqf institutions.
D) The policy of one man one post must be followed. No one must work in two waqf institutions simultaneously and for more than one term, and no Chairman must be given two terms. If this is followed, 50 % of the criticism will disappear.
As far as encroachment and illegal occupation are concerned, the Board must fully follow the Act and rules and implement the same without fear or favour. The names of encroachers and defaulters must be announced “property wise” in newspapers. The Tribunals must be constituted with full three members as prescribed by the Waqf Act.
Muslims have failed to understand that we cannot set right and improve the working of Waqf Board by shouting and abusing the politicians, Board members, and officers. Our problems can only be solved through dialogue in a friendly atmosphere, and Allah should guide us to the correct path.