Wakf Board Land Scam

Introduction

Wakf[1] is defined under the Wakf Act 1955 as “the permanent dedication by a person professing Islam, of any movable or immovable property for any purpose recognized by Muslim Law as religious, pious or charitable.” Wakf is an inalienable property or a property belonging to God, which can only be used for the pious or charitable purpose. The purpose or the object of wakf are the purposes recognized as religious, pious or charitable, as per Muslim Law. The valid objects for which the wakf is valid, are mosques and provisions of Islam to conduct worship, repairs of Imambaras, maintenance of  Khanqahs, burning lamps in mosques, payment of  money to fakirs, grant to colleges, bridges and caravan sarais.

Under the Wakf Act, 1995, The Karnataka Wakf Board, a statutory body was constituted which control and manages all over the wakf institutions ranging from the appointment of Muthawali to the supervision of the wakf institutions from time to time.[2]

A land of 54,000 acres, which was in the custody of the Wakf Board has been exploited and an amount worth Rs. 2 lakh crores was unlawfully transferred to the private institutions.[3] This was conspired by politicians, middlemen and wakf board officials in the year between 2001 and 2012. It was the biggest land scam in the country which was termed as The Karnataka Wakf Board Land Scam which involved fraudulent and illegal sale of massive resources.

Khurshid said, “This wakf scam is actually a state level issue, state level entitlement, so they will have to look at it.”[4]

A report[5] was submitted by Anwar Manipaddy, the head of the Karnataka Minorities Commission to the chief minister, V Sadananda Gowda declaring the allegations executed by the officials of the State Board and the politicians.

Facts of the concerned issue

Facts of the Karnataka Wakf Board Land Scam issue were[6] that the land of 54,000 acres which was in the custody of the Wakf Board, half of it, with the value of Rs.2 lakh crore was exploited and misused by the wakf board as it was illegally transferred to the individuals and private institutions for their personal purpose in respect of the collusion of real estate mafia. Wakf property can only be used for the charitable, religious or pious purpose, but here the allocation of the land was for individual purposes, making it invalid and contrary to the provisions of law.

The land could be given in the charitable trust, like Wakf Board, for the religious or charitable purpose but instead of this, the property was mortgaged to the private institutions without the prior permission of the wakf. In 2012, on the basis of registrar’s assessment of the land, 50% of the property which was allocated to the Wakf Board to private individuals or politicians for the purpose of sale to land mafia or any other personal use during the period of elections.

Following the order, Anwar Manipaddy, the head of the Karnataka Minorities Commission presented a report to DV Sadananda Gowda, the Chief Minister. The report submitted to the CM will be presented in the house and tabled in the Karnataka Assembly after the conclusion of the current assembly session in the house.

Outcomes of the Report

The report submitted by Anwar Manipaddy, containing the allegations of the land scam executed by the politicians and the private individuals was to be tabled and shared in the Karnataka Assembly. He stated in his report that “Atleast 10 ministers of the Karnataka government would go behind bars if the Wakf Board Land Scandal report is tabled.”[7]

When the current issues of the assembly session came to a conclusion, the Chief Justice of Karnataka HC ordered to table the report in February 2016 but it was not followed by the authority and as a result a notice of contempt was passed by the Chief Minister against the Principal Secretary Syed Saleem Adoni and Chief Secretary Arvind Jadhav.  The government was trying to play a tactic to mislead and delay the proceedings by alleging that it must be done by T B Jayachandra, the law minister who had gone to attend convocation in Shivamogga.

The Report submitted by Anwar Manipaddy, revealed the fact that among the persons who work in the wakf Board, congress leaders, mainly the Muslim leaders were involved in this biggest land scam of the country.

The Report has mentioned the names of some many people. They were Dharam Singh, MLA Tanveer Sait, former MP Qamarul Islam, former miniters Jaffer Sherif, MLA NA Hariss, Roshan Baig, and Rahman Khan, the minister of infrastructure.

Tabling of the Report in the Karnataka Assembly

In 2012, the report of Anwar Manipaddy was tabled in the February-March Belgaum session. The alleged information given in the Manipaddy’s Report was approved by the Cabinet. Supreme Court has made a conclusion that ‘once a wakf land is always a wakf land’. It means that once the property is dedicated to wakf board, it cannot be revoked. And lastly, the court has suspended the Institution for 1 year in order to stop any type of interference in the investigation by taking the wakf property in its hand.

Conclusion

As the statutory institution, Karnataka Wakf Board Land has used unfair practices while using the wakf property. According to the provisions of Law, the wakf property can only be used for religious, pious or charitable purpose but instead of this it has been used for the personal interest of the politicians or for the sale to land mafia. The suspension of the institution by the Supreme Court was considered to be a valid judgement.

 

[1] Section 3(r)

[2] http://www.karwakf.org/, last accessed on 24th June’19

[3] https://www.ndtv.com/karnataka-news/karnatakas-waqf-land-scam-worth-rs-2-lakh-crore-five-facts-473536, last accessed on 24th June’19

[4] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/karnataka-government-will-have-to-take-a-call-on-wakf-scam-salman-khurshid/articleshow/12426925.cms, last accessed on 24th June’19

[5] Ibid

[6] https://www.ndtv.com/karnataka-news/karnatakas-waqf-land-scam-worth-

[7] https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/wakf-board-scam-report-siddaramaiah-governments-nightmare-40844

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