Explained: How a waqf is created, and the laws that govern such properties

News:The UP Sunni Waqf Board has decided to surrender its claim on the disputed Ayodhya site.


What is a waqf?

  • Waqf is the property given in the name of God for religious and charitable purposes. 
  • In legal terms,permanent dedication by a person professing Islam of any movable or immovable property for any purpose recognised by the Muslim law as pious, religious or charitable.

How is waqf created?

  • A waqf can be formed through a deed or instrument, or a property can be deemed waqf if it has been used for religious or charitable purposes for a long period of time. 
  • The proceeds are typically used to finance educational institutions, graveyards, mosques and shelter homes.
  • A person creating the waqf cannot take back the property and the waqf would be a continuing entity.

How is waqf governed?

  • Waqfs in India are governed by the Wakf Act, 1995. 
  • A survey commissioner under the Act lists all properties declared as waqf by making local investigation, summoning witnesses and requisitioning public documents. 
  • The waqf is managed by a mutawalli who acts as a supervisor.It is similar to a trust established under the Indian Trusts Act,1882.
  • But trusts can be set up for a broader purpose than religious and charitable uses. A trust established can also be dissolved by the board unlike a waqf.

What is a Waqf Board?

  • A Waqf Board is a juristic person with power to acquire and hold property and to transfer any such property. 
  • The board can sue and be sued in a court as it is recognised as a legal entity or juristic person.
  • Each state has a Waqf Board headed by a chairperson with one or two nominees from the state government.

Powers of waqf board:

  • The Waqf Board has powers under the law to administer the property and take measures for the recovery of lost properties of any waqf.
  • The waqf can also sanction any transfer of immovable property of a waqf by way of sale, gift, mortgage, exchange or lease. 
  • However, the sanction shall not be given unless at least two thirds of the members of the Waqf Board vote in favour of such transaction.