Hajj, umrah law approved in principle
The Cabinet yesterday approved the draft of "Hajj and Umrah Management Law-2020" in principle to bring more discipline in this sector.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the regular cabinet meeting, joining it virtually from the Gono Bhaban, while her cabinet colleagues attended the meeting at the secretariat.
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam briefed reporters after the meeting.
He said the hajj management has been operating through a policy till date and that is why the government faces difficulties while going to take any measure against any agency, as the agencies bring stay order from the High Court challenging any action.
After the new law enactment, he said the government can bring any hajj and umrah agency to trial in the country even if they commit any offence in Saudi Arabia.
Mentioning that Saudi Arabia has changed the hajj management system in 2011, the cabinet secretary said India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia framed laws.
He said no one without registration under the law could deal with any haji (hajj pilgrim) and the authorities concerned could take action against anomalies.
According to the proposed law, the registration of any hajj or umrah agency can be cancelled for anomalies. Besides, a hajj agency could be fined maximum Tk 50 lakh, while an umrah agency could be slapped maximum Tk 15 lakh for irregularities, said Anwarul.
If any agency gets warning in two consecutive years, its registration would automatically be suspended for two years, he added.
Besides, lawsuits can be filed for criminal offences committed in hajj and umrah management, said the cabinet secretary.
According to the law, if any hajj-related anomaly is committed even in Saudi Arabia by Bangladeshi, it could be treated as if it happened in Bangladesh and legal steps could be taken in the country, he said.
He mentioned that the religious affairs ministry placed the bill in the Cabinet in line with a directive of the Cabinet issued in 2012 to enact a law instead of the existing policy.