इंडियन आवाज़     21 Feb 2024 10:14:15      انڈین آواز

Muslims for Wakf Cadre like Hindu Endowments Service

asked the minister if there was a special service to manage Hindu temples and Hindu endowments in the country why a Wakf service could not be created for Wakf management?  

Talking to media here, Dr. Mahmood argued that in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh there were statutory and administrative arrangements and separate selections were made through provincial Public Service Commissions.

He said that special cadres & posts of Additional Commissioners, Joint Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners have been created to manage the affairs of the temples and Hindu religious endowments.

“As per legal requirement, only those candidates can apply for these positions who profess Hindu religion; the public notices for annual recruitments clarify this specific qualification. The salaries etc and pensions of these officers are paid out of the consolidated fund of the state concerned”, he said adding that on top of this exclusive bureaucratic hierarchy, in all the mentioned states, there is an IAS officer sitting as Commissioner and his ‘being a Hindu’ is also a pre-requisite.       

Lambasting the minister’s statement that he was opposed to some recommendations like the Waqf cadre because he did not want to create a different world for the Muslim citizens of the country, Mahmood said his statement was a clear contravention of Constitution.

“Zakat Foundation of India respectfully asks Khurshid as to why has he chosen the constitutional institution of ministership to commit unconstitutional discrimination (prohibited in article 15) against Muslim citizens on the basis of their religion?”

The minister said: “If you have a cadre of Muslim officers under the government, what else is ghettoization?”

How does the minister reconcile this state of affairs with his refusal to institute Indian Waqf Service except through the string of state discrimination whose specific prohibition in article 15 forms the basic fabric of sacred constitutional structure ?, he asked.

In the Waqf Act no qualification is prescribed for the post of Secretary of the Central Waqf Council and for the posts of CEO in the State Waqf Boards except that the CEO should be Muslim.

In this regard, in 2005-06, the Sachar Committee collected information from various state waqf boards. Later, Foundation again collected information for the decade 2001-2011 from the state waqf boards under RTI Act. It was found that the positions of Waqf CEOs have been and are being manned by veterinary doctor, survey inspector, naib tahsildar, BDO, junior employment officer, teacher, advocate, fresh graduate, etc.

Even if a state government officer is ever posted, though rarely, the Waqf CEO is invariably his ‘additional charge’.

While, the Waqf CEO’s work is vast, diverse, complicated and demands expertise that comes from specified training & competence. Below the CEO there are, usually, clerical staff members though some of them are designated as ‘officer’. All of them including the CEO are paid their salary by the state waqf board from the scarce Waqf funds.

“Compare this scenario with the management of temples and Hindu religious endowments & institutions. There are batteries of high level service cadres of officers selected through public service commissions. Their salaries and pensions are paid from the state exchequer”.  

The Central Waqf Council is the apex waqf body. It is managed on day to day basis by an officer designated as Secretary. The Waqf Act does not provide any qualification for a person to be appointed as Secretary, CWC. Compare this with the management of temples and Hindu religious endowments & institutions in the above mentioned states. The day to day work is done of exclusive full time senior Hindu IAS officer who is appointed as Secretary to the state government-cum-Commissioner for the management of temples and Hindu religious endowments & institutions in the state. This is the highest rank in state bureaucracy.

For management of temples etc the state’s highest bureaucrat is exclusively working. But for tens of thousands of waqf properties even in 2011 the central government has reluctantly agreed for the state bureaucracy’s lowest level status.

Muslims constitutes only 2.5 per cent in the higher bureaucracy, so one can imagine the constraints of always finding a Muslim officer of the required seniority to be posted as CEO of state waqf board.

As against that, Hindus in higher bureaucracy are more than ninety percent. Hence, there is always a senior Hindu IAS officer available to be posted to head the management of temples and religious endowments & institutions of the state.

To boot, this senior bureaucrat is supported by an exclusive cadre of next rank Hindu bureaucrats. All of them form part of the state’s bureaucratic fraternity. Hence, the management of temples and religious endowments & institutions becomes a part of the overall governance of the state. As against that, the Waqf management, at best, receives a poor, step-brotherly treatment from the state.

He has revealed that a deputy secretary level Virendra Singh wrote a very brief, non-convincing three line note saying that the IWS is not feasible. The ministry’s record does not show that at any higher level above him, this issue was ever examined in detail. To be fair Salman Khurshid was minister at that time. The arguments given by Sachar Committee (based on country wide tours, national roundtable conferences, obtaining information from all the state waqf boards & central waqf council, benefiting from consultants, consulting the mutawallis, etc) have not been countered by the ministry, he added.    

Creation of special Wakf cadre has also been recommended by the Sachar committee.

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