The High Court (HC) on Tuesday questioned why the government doesn’t allocate budgets for the hajj like other countries in the world.

If such a hefty amount is needed, how people will perform hajj, the court added.

A bench of HC, comprising justice KM Kamrul Quader and justice Mohammad Ali, came up with this observation while conducting hearing of a writ over revising the cost of hajj package offered by the government. The court set Wednesday for the next hearing.

Earlier on 1 February, the religious affairs ministry announced the  hajj package for 2023. According to the package under the government management, each pilgrimage will have to spend Tk 683,018 to perform hajj.

Later a lawyer of Supreme Court (SC) Ashraf-Uz-Zaman sent a legal notice to the ministry on 6 March seeking reduction of the cost to Tk 400,000. As the authorities concerned didn’t reply to the notice, the lawyer filed a writ petition to the HC on 12 March.             

In the hearing, Ashraf-Uz-Zaman represented the writ while assistant attorney general Md Awlad Hossain stood for the state.   

Later Awlad told Prothom Alo that "The hajj package is fixed through various administrative steps. It is a matter of administrative process and government policymaking. The writ didn't mention the things. So, time is sought to learn the issues from the ministry. The court also said it is a part of government policymaking."     

The hajj will be performed on 27 June which is, however, subjected to moon sighting. A bilateral agreement was signed between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia last month regarding the matter.

This year a total of 127,198 people from Bangladesh will get chances to perform hajj. Of them, 15,000 will perform hajj under the government arrangement while the remaining 112,198 under the private arrangement.