Saudi Shoura passes draft law that proposes creation of charity fund to combat beggary

According to the law, using means of advanced information and communications technology for beggary would also come under the purview of beggary

  
Saudi Shura council members attend their first session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 11, 2020. Picture taken November 11, 2020. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

Saudi Shura council members attend their first session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 11, 2020. Picture taken November 11, 2020. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

RIYADH The draft law to combat beggary, which was approved by the Shoura Council on Tuesday, proposes creation of a charity fund to combat begging, Okaz/Saudi Gazette has learnt from well informed sources.

According to the law, using means of advanced information and communications technology for beggary would also come under the purview of beggary.

The Council passed the law with a majority vote of 110 in favor and 20 against.

The law defined beggary as the act of anybody seeking to obtain money from others without anything or for an unintended consideration in cash or kind directly or indirectly in public places or private stores or using modern means of technology and communication or by any other means.

It was also specified in the law that one who was arrested for the second time or more while practicing begging will be booked for the offense.

Earlier, taking part in deliberations on the draft law, Dr. Faisal Al-Fadel, member of the Council, presented three proposals aimed to make provisions of the law more in line with the rules of the Islamic Shariah.

He said provisions of the law included the establishment of a charitable fund to combat begging. Al-Fadel suggested that the Committee for Family, Social and Youth Affairs have to make a distinction between the needy beggar and the fraudulent beggar.

He also proposed some provisions, procedures, preventive measures, positive incentives and organizational aspects that clarify the roles and duties of government agencies towards combating beggary.

For her part, Dr. Samia Bukhari, vice chairman of the Administration and Human Resources Committee, also participated in the deliberations.

She noted that the first article of the law defines begging and that also covers beggary by using various means of modern technology and communications, and this type of begging exists in Twitter and other means of communication.

However, she drew attention to the fact that it is not clear in the law how to find out those using new technologies for beggary and how is it possible to catch them.

Dr. Samia noted that the third article of the law stipulates that those who practice begging shall be referred to the competent authority. “In this context, the definition of the competent authority must be specified in the first article of the definitions.

“Also, another article related to the procedure that is to be followed with the beggar if he or she was arrested for the first time must be added in the article,” she said while noting that the law focused only on the beggar, who was caught for the second time or more while practicing beggary.

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