The Cabinet on Monday 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 virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban while her cabinet colleagues attended the meeting at the Bangladesh Secretariat.
Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam briefed the newsmen emerging from the meeting.
He said the hajj management has been operating through a policy till the date and that is why the government faces difficulties while going to take any measure against any agency, as they (agencies) bring stay order from the High Court challenging any action.
After the enactment of the new law, he said, the government can bring any hajj and umrah agency under trial in the country even if they commit any offense in Saudi Arabia.
Mentioning that Saudi Arabia has changed hajj management system in 2011, the cabinet secretary said India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia has framed law and that is why Bangladesh needs a legal structure to equip with their hajj management.
In the new law, he said, none without having registration under the law could deal any haji (hajj pilgrim) and the registration authority could take action against anomaly.
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 Taka 50 lakh, while an umrah agency could be slapped maximum Taka 15 lakh for irregularities, said Khandker Anwarul.
If any agency gets warning in the two consecutive years, its registration would automatically be suspended for two years, he added.
Besides, lawsuit can be filed against criminal offenses committed in Hajj and Umrah management, said the cabinet secretary.
In the law, if any hajj-related anomaly committed even in Saudi Arabia by Bangladeshi, it could be treated that it happened in Bangladesh and legal steps including criminal and administrative actions 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 in order to enact a law instead of the existing policy.