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JS passes Hajj, Umrah Management Bill

Published : Wednesday, 16 June, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 389

Keeping provisions of cancellation of registration of Hajj and Umrah agencies including fine for anomalies, mismanagement and irregularities, Jatiya Sangsad (JS) on Tuesday passed the 'Hajj and Umrah Management Bill, 2021' to bring more discipline in the sector.
According to the draft law passed in parliament a Hajj agency can be punished with a fine of maximum Tk 50 lakh while an Umrah agency with Tk 15 lakh for breaching the provisions of the law.
State Minister for Religious Affairs Ministry Md Faridul Haque Khan moved the bill in parliament. Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury chaired the parliament session and it was passed by voice vote.      The bill was placed in the JS on April 4 this year.
With the endorsement of the law in parliament, the country has its first ever Hajj and Umrah Law for smooth conduct of those religious activities.
Earlier, the activities were conducted following a policy, which the government cleared in the cabinet meeting every year.
After getting approval of the President, the Hajj and Umrah activities would be conducted following the provisions of the new law.
On December 28 last year, the Cabinet gave its final nod to the draft of Hajj and Umrah Management Act, 2020.
The Religious Affairs Ministry prepared the draft law and placed it in the Cabinet in line with a directive of the Cabinet issued in 2012 in order to enact a law instead of the existing policy.
According to the ministry officials, whenever the government makes a move against any hajj agency, it brings a stay order from the High Court challenging the action as there was no law. So, a legal structure was needed to deal with hajj management.
Without having a registration under the law, no one will be able to deal with Hajj pilgrims and the registration authorities can take action against irregularities. The registration of a Hajj and Umrah agency can be cancelled for anomalies, according to the bill.
From now on, Hajj and Umrah activities will be conducted under certain laws which will be controlled or monitored by the government.
After the enactment of the new law, the government can bring any Hajj and Umrah agency under trial in the country even if they commit any offense in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Arabia changed its Hajj management system in 2011. India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia also framed law in this regards. In this backdrop, it was urgent for Bangladesh to ensure a legal structure to equip with their Hajj management.

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