Centre's Haj policy comes under fire

Centre's Haj policy comes under fire

The Bench had on October 10 stayed the high court order.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai, while extending the stay, expressed displeasure over the facility being exploited by VIPs and government officials to make pilgrimage at the cost of state exchequer.

“What kind of practice is this? May be it has political use. It is a bad religious practise. It is not really Haj,” the Bench said, directing Attorney General G E Vahanvati to evolve a new policy. 

The Bench made the observations while dealing with the Centre’s appeal challenging a Bombay High Court judgment which had directed the Ministry of External Affairs to allow certain private operators to operate the services of 800 out of the 11,000 pilgrims earmarked under the VIP quota subsidised by the government.

“We will oversee the policy. We will keep the matter pending till then,” the Bench said.
Justice Alam pointed out that in the past “Haj pilgrimage was undertaken by people in their old age at their own cost after discharging all their duties. But now, the government is funding the pilgrimage of even officials and other VIPs.”

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