Bills on uninhabited islands, protection of religion sent to committees

Lawmakers pictured during a parliamentary sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Parliament concluded preliminary debates on the bill to amend the Lease of Uninhabited Islands Act and the bill to amend the Penal Code to stop mockery of religion on Tuesday, and forwarded the bills to relevant committees for review. 

The bill to amend the Penal Code criminalizes public verbal statements or actions to mock the religion of Islam through communication devises or otherwise. 

Many parliamentarians spoke in support of the bill during the preliminary debate. The government bill, sponsored by Thulhaadhoo MP Hisaan Hussain, was accepted with unanimous consensus of 43 parliamentarians. 

The bill has now been sent to the Judiciary Committee for review. 

The second bill accepted this Tuesday pertains to the law on lease of uninhabited islands, lease of uninhabited islands for non-tourism purposes, division of uninhabited islands, planting and removal of trees in uninhabited islands, and other matters pertaining to uninhabited islands. 

The government bill was sponsored by Baarah MP Ahmed Abdulla. 

The bill was sent to the Decentralization Committee for review with the unanimous consensus of 43 parliamentarians. 

The bill states that uninhabited islands in administrative districts, other than those leased for tourism development, which fall under the jurisdiction of an island or city, will be leased and divided by the respective local council, in accordance with a regulation drafted under the Act. 

The amendment is designed to empower local councils to lease uninhabited islands under their jurisdiction. 

The bill also states that if the central government were to decide to convert an uninhabited island under the jurisdiction of a local council into an industrial island, then the island in question will be removed from the jurisdiction of the local council.