An Act to establish a Haj Committee of India and State Haj Committees for making arrangements for the pilgrimage of Muslims for Haj, and for matters connected therewith.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-third Year of the Republic of India as follows:--
Section 1. Short title and commencement
(1)This Act may be called the Haj Committee Act, 2002.
(2) It shall come into force on such date or dates as the Central Government may, by notification, appoint, and different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act and for different States.
Section 2. Definitions
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,--
(a) "bye-laws" means bye-laws made under Section 45;
(b) "Chief Executive Officer or the Executive Officer" means the Chief Executive Officer of the Committee or the Executive Officer of the State Committee appointed under Sub-section (1) of Section 16 or Sub-section (1) of Section 29, as the case may be;
(c) "Committee" means the Haj Committee of India constituted under Section 3;
(d) "member" means a member of the Haj Committee of India nominated under Section 4 or of a State Haj Committee nominated under Section 18, as the case may be, and includes the Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson;
(e) "notification" means a notification published in the Gazette of India or the Official Gazette of a State, as the case may be;
(f) "pilgrim" means a Muslim proceeding to, or returning from. Haj;
(g) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under Section 44 by the Central Government or, as the case may be, under Section 47 by the State Government;
(h) "State Committee" means a State Haj Committee constituted under Section 18 and includes a Joint State Committee;
(i) "State Government", in relation to a Union territory, means the Administrator of that Union territory appointed by the President under Article 239 of the Constitution.
Section 3. Constitution and incorporation of the Haj committee of India
(1) With effect from such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint in this behalf, there shall be constituted a Committee by the name of the Haj Committee of India,
(2) The Committee shall be a body corporate, by the name aforesaid, having perpetual succession and a common seal with power, subject to the provisions of this Act, to acquire, hold and dispose of property, both movable and immovable, to create a charitable trust or endowment, and to contract and shall by the said name sue and be sued,
(3) The Committee shall have its headquarters at Mumbai and as and when the Committee considers it functionally necessary, additional regional offices may be opened in consultation with the Central Government.
Section 4. Composition of Committee
The Committee shall consist of the following members, namely:--
(i) three members of Parliament of whom two are to be nominated by the Speaker of the House of the People from among its Muslim members, and one by the Chairman of the Council of States from among its Muslim members:
Provided that a Member of Parliament shall, upon ceasing to be a member, cease to be a member of the Committee and the Speaker of the House of the People or the Chairman of the Council of States, as the case may be, shall make a fresh nomination upon request by the Central Government;
(ii) nine Muslim members of the Committee shall be elected, three from those States sending largest number of pilgrims during last three years and one each from the zones as specified in the Schedule, in such manner as may be prescribed:
Provided that not more than one member shall be elected from the State falling in the zone as specified in the Schedule;
(iii) four persons not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India nominated by that Government to represent the Ministries of External Affairs, Home, Finance and Civil Aviation, as, ex officio members;
(iv) seven Muslim members shall be nominated by the Central Government from among the following categories of persons, namely:--
(a) two members who have special knowledge of public administration, finance, education, culture or social work and out of whom one shall be a Shia Muslim;.
(b) two women members, out of them one shall be Shia Muslim;
(c) three members who have special knowledge of Muslim theology and law, out of them one shall be a Shia Muslim.
Section 5. Notification of members
As soon as may be after the nomination of the members of the Committee under Section 4, the Central Government shall publish in the Official Gazette the names of all such members.
Section 6. Term of office
(1) The term of office of the members of the Committee (other than the ex officio members and members filling casual vacancies) shall be three years, commencing on the day following the publication of the list of members under Section 5:
Provided that the term of the members of the Committee may be extended by the Central Government by a notification in the Official Gazette for a period not exceeding six months at a time but, in any case, not exceeding beyond a total period of one year.
(2) The allowances payable to, and the other terms and conditions of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairpersons and members shall be such as may be prescribed.
Section 7. Chairperson and Vice-Chairpersons
(1) After the publication of the names of members of the Committee under Section 5, the Central Government shall convene within forty-five days of such publication the first meeting of the Committee at which the Committee shall elect a Chairperson and two Vice-Chairpersons from amongst its members:
Provided that a Minister shall not be the Chairperson of the Committee and ex-officio members shall not take part in the election of the Chairperson or of the Vice-Chairpersons.
(2) If the Committee fails to elect the Chairperson or Vice-Chairpersons the Central Government may appoint a member of the Committee to be the Chairperson thereof or Vice-Chairpersons, as the case may be.
(3) The Chairperson shall exercise such powers and discharge such duties as may be prescribed.
(4) The Vice-Chairpersons shall exercise such powers and discharge such duties as may be determined by bye-laws made in this behalf by the Committee.
Provided that till such bye-laws are made, the Vice-Chairpersons shall exercise such powers and discharge such duties as may be determined by an order made by the Chairperson in this regard.
(5) The election of the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairpersons shall be notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette.
(6) The term of office of the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairpersons, as the case may be, shall be co-terminus with the term of the Committee and no person shall hold office of the Chairperson or of the Vice-Chairperson, as the case may be, for more than two consecutive terms.
(7) Any casual vacancy in the office of the Chairperson or a Vice-Chairperson shall be filled for the remainder of the term in accordance with Sub-section (1) or Sub-section (2), as the case may be.
Section 8. Reconstitution of committee
(1) The Central Government shall take or cause to be taken all necessary steps for the reconstitution of a new Committee at least four months before the expiry of the term, or the extended term, as the case may be, of the Committee.
(2) An outgoing member shall be eligible for renomination on the Committee for not more than two terms:
Provided that not more than fifty per cent, of the members may be re-nominated for a second term in such manner as may be prescribed.
Section 9. Duties of Committee
(1) The duties of the Committee shall be--
(i) to collect and disseminate information useful to pilgrims, and to arrange orientation and training programmes for pilgrims;
(ii) to advise and assist pilgrims during their stay at the embarkation points in India, while proceeding to or returning from pilgrimage, in all matters including vaccination, inoculation, medical inspection, issue of pilgrim passes and foreign exchange, and to liaise with the local authorities concerned in such matters;
(iii) to give relief to pilgrims in distress;
(iv) to finalise the annual Haj plan with the approval of the Central Government, and execute the plan, including the arrangements for travel by air or any other means, and to advise in matters relating to accommodations;
(v) to approve the budget estimates of the Committee and submit it to the Central Government at least three months before the beginning of the financial year for its concurrence;
(vi) to co-ordinate with the Central Government, railways, airways and travel agencies for the purpose of securing travelling facilities for pilgrims';
(vii) to generally look after the welfare of the pilgrims;
(viii) to publish such proceedings of the Committee and such matters of interest to pilgrims as may be determined by bye-laws made in this behalf by the Committee;
(ix) to discharge such other duties in connection with Haj as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
(2) The Central Government shall afford all reasonable assistance to the Committee in the discharge of the duties specified in Sub-section (1).
Section 10. Meetings of Committee
(1) The Committee shall meet at least three times in a year before the commencement of the Haj season to plan and make arrangements for Haj and once after that to review all arrangements made by the Committee.
(2) In addition to the meetings specified in Sub-section (1), the Committee may hold meetings as and when requisitioned by at least one-third of its members or when considered necessary by the Chairperson.
(3) The number of members required to make a quorum at any meeting of the Committee shall be one-third of its members.
(4) All matters shall be decided by a majority of votes of the members present and, in the event of an equality of votes, the Chairperson or other person presiding shall have a casting vote.
(5) The Committee shall observe such rules of procedure in regard to the transaction of business at its meetings as may be determined by bye-laws.
Section 11. Appointment of Standing Committees and Sub-Committees
(1) The Committee shall appoint two Standing Committees, each headed by a Vice-Chairperson of the Committee, to deal with matters relating to finance and Haj arrangements, from amongst its members consisting of such number of members and with such powers and functions as may be determined by bye-laws made in this behalf by the Committee;
Provided that the Chairperson shall preside over the meeting of the Standing Committee in case he attends the meeting.
(2) The Committee may also appoint other sub-committees for such purposes as it may think fit and any such sub-committee shall consist of such number of members and other persons as may be determined by bye-laws made in this behalf by the Committee.
Section 12. Disqualification for being nominated, or for continuing, as a member of Committee
A person shall be disqualified for being nominated, or for continuing as a member of the Committee, if he--
(i) is not a citizen of India;
(ii) is not a Muslim, except for ex officio members as provided in Clause (iii) of Sub-section (1) of Section 4;
(iii) is less than twenty-five years of age;
(iv) is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court;
(v) is an undischarged insolvent;
(vi) has been convicted of an offence which, in the opinion of the Central Government, involves a moral turpitude;
(vii) has been on a previous occasion--
(a) removed from his office as a member; or
(b) removed by an order of a competent authority either for not acting in the interest of the pilgrims or for corruption.