The government initiated the law to protect such properties, including temples and crematoriums, from land grabbers, according to officials.
At present, properties of the places of worship of the Hindu community are generally managed by local committees.
The religious affairs ministry placed the draft of the ‘Debottor Property Management Act, 2013 at the weekly cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The proposed law aims to protect the endowed properties from grabbers.
“A central board will be constituted to regulate management of the properties donated to temples or other places of worship of the Hindu community,” cabinet secretary Mohammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said after the meeting.The vice-chairman of the Hindu Religious Welfare Trust would be the ex-officio chairman of the management board while a new post of an administrator equivalent to the rank of a joint secretary would be created to run the board, he said.
The administrator from the Hindu community would act as the member-secretary to the management board.
The proposed law provides for fines upto Tk 5,000 or imprisonment for a year for irregularities in managing these endowed properties.
But for misleading the Board with wrong information about these properties, the fines could be upto TK 50,000 or a year in prison.
This will help prevent illegal transfer or forcible occupation or misuse of such properties for personal use and facilitate recovery, the cabinet secretary said.
This is the first time any government in Bangladesh has enacted a law to protect Hindu religious property. The draft of this proposed law was accepted in principle by the Cabinet on Dec 10 last year.