Mumbai : In a major move, the state government has ordered that all encroached and illegally transferred Wakf properties be taken back and re-registered in the name of the Wakf Institution or as Wakf property.

The Government Resolution (GR) issued on April 13, which mentions the above decision, comes in the wake of the findings of the A.T.A. K Sheikh committee that many Wakf properties were illegally sold or given on lease.

The committee was appointed by the Revenue Department in October 2007. As per the data available with the Maharashtra State Wakf Board, there are 23,566 listed Wakf properties admeasuring 37,330.97 hectares in the state. Out of these a maximum of 15,877 Wakf properties admeasuring 23,121.10 hectares are in Aurangabad division alone. As per the Boards data, in Mumbai and Thane district there are 1,571 such Wakf properties listed with the Charity Commissioner and 351 Wakf properties are listed with the Survey Commissioners office.

The rest of the state the Wakf properties and the area in question is as follows: Pune 2,728 properties with an area of 3,724.55 hectares, Nagpur 470 properties with an area of 3,704.25 hectares, Kokan 1,724 properties covering an area of 2,339 hectares, Nashik 1,455 properties with an area of 3,340 hectares and in Amravati division there are 1,310 properties with an area of 1,102 hectares.

As per the states own Wakf Board 60 percent of the Wakf land is under encroachment in Marathwada region (Aurangabad division). The Chief Executive Officer of the Board has till date passed orders in 1,088 such cases out of which only 21 orders were executed till June 30, 2007. There are 250 cases under hearing and more than 483 orders have been sent to Sub Divisional Magistrates for execution.

As per the central Wakf Act of 1955 all properties declared as Wakf include Masjids, Dargha, Kabrastan, Anathalay (Orphanage) and other such properties. The act provides for appointment of Mutawalli or a management committee to oversee the Wakf property.

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