Madras HC sets aside Centre`s orders

The Madras High Court has directed the External Affairs Ministry to consider applications from private firms seeking "allotment" of pilgrims.

Last Updated: Sep 03, 2010, 20:57 PM IST

Chennai: Setting aside Centre`s orders not
entertaining new operators for Haj pilgrimage 2010, the Madras
High Court has directed the External Affairs Ministry to
consider applications from private firms seeking "allotment"
of pilgrims.

Allowing a petition filed by Y Son and eight others,
Justice D Hariparanthaman agreed with the petitioners that the
MEA`s orders of July 21 and July 27 last "is not in consonance
with the liberalised policy of the Centre."

According to the orders, new private tour operators would
not be permitted to undertake Haj Pilgrims for 2010.

The Government of India could not say that only existing
operators could participate in the pilgrimage, the judge said
and noted that the Centre by its order of August 31 last year
had registered 269 new private operators allotting each of
them 50 seats by proportionately reducing the quota of
existing operators.

"It is clear that the Government of India passed the same
pursuant to various orders of High Courts," the Judge said.
"The MEA`s Deputy Secretary of Directorate of Haj
pilgrims is directed to consider the applications of the
petitioners and pass appropriate orders on merit and in
accordance with law within three weeks," the judge said.

PTI