SC asks Centre to respond to Kerala's plea against 'discriminatory' Haj policy

SC asks Centre to respond to Kerala's plea against 'discriminatory' Haj policy

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond to a petition by the Kerala Haj Committee against the policy of fixing state-wise quotas for Haj pilgrims as it was discriminatory.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked the central government to file its response within two weeks and posted the petition for hearing on January 30.

The Kerala Haj Committee contended the  central government  has been allowed by the UAE government to send 1.7 lakh Haj pilgrims every year. The Centre in turn fixed quotas on the basis of the Muslim population in each state.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Haj Committee, cited the example of Bihar, which got 12,000 quota against a mere 6,900 applicants.

Unequal

In stark contrast, Kerala got 6,000 seats against 95,000 applicants desirous to go on the Haj pilgrimage, he added.

"As a result, every applicant in Bihar gets the opportunity to go for Haj. However, in Kerala, the situation is unpleasant," he said. Bhushan said that there should be an all-India draw of lots to decide who will go on Haj.

Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted the present quota policy was devised by the Central Haj Committee after considering the suggestions of 31 different state Haj committees.

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