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Haj pilgrimage: SC seeks Centre’s stand on five-time applicants

The SC bench sought the Centre’s response by February 19 to an application that had challenged the new Haj pilgrimage policy of the government.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2018 23:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Haj pilgrimage,Haj applicants,SC
Haj pilgrims wave to relatives and friends at Taj-ul-masajid transit point before leaving for Haj in Bhopal. (File)

The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre on Tuesday asking for details of senior citizen applicants aged between 65 years and 70 years who have applied to go for the Haj pilgrimage for five times but have not been able to go.

On Tuesday, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud sought the Centre’s response by February 19 to an application that had challenged the new Haj pilgrimage policy of the government.

“Purely as an ad-interim measure, it is directed that Pinky Anand, Additional Solicitor General (ASG), shall file a statement with regard to the fifth-time applicants, who have crossed the age of 65 and are below 70 and have never been able to go for the pilgrimage,” the bench said.

According to the application, under the old Haj policy, if anyone who applied for the pilgrimage four times could not make it to the final list, they were automatically considered to be on the list if they applied for the fifth time.

However, the new Haj policy of the government does not have any such provision with regard to fifth-time applicants, the application asserts.

CJI Dipak Misra said, “The Centre should clear its stand on the issue and also tell the court if it is willing to reconsider this aspect of the policy.”

Defending the government’s policy, the ASG pointed out that the new policy was made in consultation with the Haj committee and there should be no objection to it by pilgrims.

The ASG said the Central government’s policy was that, “all Haj seats are to be equally distributed among the states and all of them should be given equal opportunity.”

First Published: Jan 30, 2018 23:07 IST