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Independent body for Haj pilgrims: HC asks Centre for view

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The High Court today asked the Centre to examine grievances raised in a PIL seeking an independent Muslim body to look into arrangements for Haj pilgrims, holding that it was an important issue which needed its "considerable view".

A bench of Acting and Justice C said the authorities needed to look into the matter and take a view "expeditiously".

"The respondents (Centre and the ministries concerned) need to examine and take a view thereafter expeditiously. The decision should be communicated to the petitioner (advocate)," the bench said.

It added, "We are of the view that it should be looked into as it was an important matter".

The court thereafter disposed of the petition while directing the government to treat the PIL, filed by Delhi- based Shahid Ali, as a representation and take a considerable view of it.

The plea referred to a recent notification of the Centre, scrapping a subsidy for cheaper flights for the pilgrimage.

Since the subsidy had now been scrapped, it said there was no need for a government-controlled panel to manage its affairs and the Act 2002 was also liable to be quashed.

The central government had in 1959 introduced a subsidy for between and Other flights on Air India, the state-owned carrier, were added over time.

"Pass order or direction or issuance of an appropriate writ, thereby quashing the present Constitution of the Haj committee and further allowing Muslim citizens of to formulate their own body...," the plea said.

It pointed out that the Sikh community in was allowed to set up its own body to manage its minority affairs under the Sikh Gurudwara Act, 1925.

The question of whether the government should continue to look at the affairs of the Haj Committee, right from inviting applications for Haj till the return of Hajis after the pilgrimage, had acquired importance after the Centre scrapped the subsidy, the petition said.

It said an independent agency without any control of the government should deal with the issues.

The plea has also sought direction to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to either float open tenders inviting bids from all existing airlines flying between and or allowing pilgrims to directly purchase tickets for their Haj flights.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 12 2018. 14:45 IST