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Centre Decides To Cover 5th Time Applicants In 65-69 Years’ Age Group For Haj, 2018, Submits In SC [Read Order]

News March 14, 2018

Ashok K.M

Pursuant to the direction by the Supreme Court, the Centre informed the court that a decision has been taken by the Ministry of Minority Affairs to cover pilgrims in the age group of 65 to 69 years, who are 5th time applicants for Haj, 2018.

The relevant part of the decision taken by the ministry is as follows:

“1965 individual pilgrims falling under the category of 5th timer applicants within the age group of 65 to 69 years may be accommodated against the additional quota of 3677 seats allocated to Haj Committee of India subject to the following conditions: –

  • The additional quota of 3677 seats will be distributed State/UT-wise as per the existing formula of distribution. Thus the State quota so allotted will be the upper ceiling for consideration of these cases from the State.
  • Since the additional quota has been allocated by the Saudi Government with the specific condition of accommodating these pilgrims outside the traditional boundaries of Mina, the pilgrims selected against this quota will have to abide by this condition.
  • This will be one-time special dispensation and may not be treated as precedent for similar dispensation in future.
  • This dispensation will not apply to co-pilgrims in the same cover (group) not falling under this category. Haj Committee of India will be advised to accommodate those out of 1965 individuals who are willing and meeting the criteria as above. The Rest of the seats will be allocated to pilgrims from the general waiting list as per the standard procedure.”

Perusing the said note by the Union Government, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra observed: “We are sure that 1965 persons who are in the category of 5th time applicants shall be extended the benefit of this decision and will be in a position to go on pilgrimage this year. There can be no trace of doubt that the 6th time or more than 6th time applicants between the age group of 65 to 69 years and who have not been able to avail the opportunity to go on pilgrimage even once, shall also be given the same benefit of the Ministry’s decision. We may hasten to add that the people who have crossed the age of 70 years, are, under the policy, entitled to benefit of separate exclusive quota.

The bench also directed that the persons who come within the age group of 65 to 69 years and are not successful in going on pilgrimage even once, despite applying for 5th time or more, shall also be covered.

The court is hearing a petition filed by the Kerala State Haj Committee challenging certain provisions of the Haj guidelines 2018-2022. The petition assails the provisions as being contrary to the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in the case of Union of India and Others v. Rafique Shaikh Bhikan and Another.

Now the case stands posted for final disposal on 10th July, 2018.

Read the Order Here