The Waqf (Amendment) Bill, 2013 received the assent of the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on 23 September 2013.
Highlights of The Waqf (Amendment) Bill
• The Bill amended the Waqf Act, 1995. It strengthened the Waqf Council powers, currently an advisory body at the central level. It can to issue directions to waqf boards, who administer waqfs in each state.
• The Bill also changed the composition of Waqf boards. It also established the procedure for removal of a chairperson of a waqf board.
• Those states which have not yet established a waqf board must do so within one year. Further, state-funded surveys of waqf properties must be carried out.
• The Bill restricted the kinds of powers that can be delegated by a waqf board to the chairperson or any other individual, including the Chief Executive Officer of the Board.
• Under the Bill, the sale, gift, or total transfer of a waqf property will be treated as invalid. The Bill extends the maximum period of lease or mortgage of such properties, while establishing a more restrictive procedure by which leases or mortgages are approved by waqf boards.
• The Bill provided for imprisonment for those who occupy waqf property without authorisation.
• The Bill restricted the circumstances under which state governments can issue directions to waqf boards. Boards cannot be superseded unless there is prima facie evidence of financial irregularity.
Lawmaking Procedure in India
The legislative proposals are brought before either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha in the form of a bill. The bill is actually a draft of the legislative proposal. After being passed by both the Houses of the Parliament, the Bill is sent to the President of India for assent. After receiving the assent from the President of India, a bill becomes an Act of the Parliament.