HC dismisses petitions challenging Haj policy
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Last Updated: Wednesday, October 05, 2011, 22:39
Mumbai: Observing that it was not going to disturb the policy framed by Ministry of External Affairs for Haj pilgrimage, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday dismissed petitions filed by those private tour operators who were held ineligible.

"We are not disturbing the policy of this year and the list sent to Saudi Arabia government of those tour operators who were held eligible," a division bench of Justices DD Sinha and VK Tahilramani said.

The court was giving its judgement in a bunch of petitions filed by over 40 private tour operators challenging the MEA decision to disallow those operators who do not have minimum 250 square feet office area.

The court has, however, directed MEA to allot the remaining 800 quota to the petitioners and those operators who were held ineligible.

"Since the 800 seats might elapse or go waste they should be allotted to these operators. The MEA should not force the 250 square feet office area criteria for allotment of these 800 seats," Justice Sinha said.

The ministry has been directed to allot the quota within two days.

MEA counsel sought a stay on this part of the order arguing that the 800 quota is allotted to dignitaries and VIPs and hence does not go to waste.

Justice Sinha, however, refused to stay it and said according to the written submissions of MEA submitted to the court there are 800 seats remaining from the VVIP and VIP quota.

The MEA has been asked to allot the remaining 800 seats first to those operators who fulfil all the criteria including the 250 square feet area and then to those who fulfil the other criteria but do not have 250 square feet office area.

Counsel for the petitioner Cherag Balsara told the court that the Saudi Arabia government has decided to allot 10,000 more seats to India.

However, the MEA counsel said that they had no such instructions, following which the court said the issue was between the two governments.


First Published: Wednesday, October 05, 2011, 22:39

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