Closure of Umrah firms overturned

A mutawwif on a bus briefs Umrah pilgrims on religious rites.

A mutawwif on a bus briefs Umrah pilgrims on religious rites.

In an unprecedented move, a Saudi court here has decided to overturn 18 decisions made by the Ministry of Haj to suspend and shut down services of several Umrah companies for more than nine years, which caused millions in financial losses.

The Administrative Court in Jeddah issued the verdicts in favor of the owners of these companies. The court had held more than 20 hearings over several months on the cases, with the participation of owners and ministry officials.

In its rulings, the court stated that the ministry had violated regulations because the director general in charge of the administration of Umrah companies had taken these decisions. Only the minister was allowed to do so, the court ruled, according to a report in a local publication.

Meanwhile, the owners of the companies have now complained that the ministry has failed to abide by the court’s decisions. They claimed that the ministry has failed to reply to requests for their licenses to be reinstated.

They said they had not incorrectly stated the number of Umrah pilgrims on their books. In addition, they had also paid their financial deposits in full, contrary to what the ministry had claimed.

The court said that the executive branch of the government must comply with the rulings, and that all state institutions were established to meet the needs of individuals in a just and equitable manner.

The court said that licensing rights were outlined in the regulations, with clear stipulations for approval and cancellation. These were the rules used by the judges to reach their decisions, the court said.


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