Eliminate Haj subsidy in coming 10 years: SC orders Govt

In Tuesday judgment, the Supreme Court ordered to eliminate the Govt’s policy of giving Haj subsidies to the pilgrims for going Haj to the holy city of Mecca in the next ten years.

An apex court further directed that a goodwill delegation that currently of 30 members, sent every year to Mecca will now only two members, one of its leader and the deputy leader.

Striking down the subsidy decision has come while hearing of Centre’s appeal held Tuesday. The Centre had filled plea against a Bombay High Court verdict of asking the External Affairs Ministry to allow some private operators to handle 800 of the 11,000 pilgrims under the VIP quota.

Muslim Members of Parliament has gone ahead with SC order, seeking direct benefit to the pilgrims linking with developing standards of the minority community and asked to take immediate implementation over decision, without wasting long period of 10 years.

Welcoming SC order, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) Chief Asaduddin Owaisi said, “The Haj subsidy of Rs 600 crore is given to Air India and not pilgrims… Under this garb of subsidy, it (money) is going to Air India which is a sick airline.”

Running this arrangement, now Rs 600 crore should be spent in health and welfare education of minority girls that have lower standards.

Source said, considering Hal Subsidy, Owaisi asked government to once again revise the agreement with Saudi Arabia, allowing Air India and Saudi Airline to carry passengers for Haj, also sought to set up a corporation in Malaysia.

However, before acting any step, an apex court has asked the state-level Haj committees and the Haj Committee of India to give brief detail regarding what procedure in which subsidy is given, with how much expenditure occurred on it.


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