Delhi High Court issues notice to Central Government and Hajj Committee of India

New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Centre and Hajj Committee of India on a plea filed by advocate Gaurav Bansal, which sought the quashing of certain provisions of the new Haj policy that barred differently-abled persons from undertaking the annual Haj pilgrimage.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar directed the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Haj Committee of India to file their reply by April 11.

According to the plea some provisions of the new policy violated Articles 14, 21 and 25, pertaining to equality and freedom to practice religion under the Constitution.

It must be noted that the New Haj Policy of Haj Committee of India Pilgrims for Haj 2018-2022 has barred the mental and physical handicap persons from performing pilgrimage.

As per the eligibility guidelines of the new policy, any Indian citizen who is a Muslim can apply for the pilgrimage except those “who do not have the mental or physical health to perform the pilgrimage, persons whose legs are amputated, who are crippled, handicapped, lunatic or otherwise physically/mentally incapacitated”.

The petitioners have claimed that the new provisions “blatantly discriminate” against persons with disability thereby violating the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. It also said that the provisions were “arbitrary, discriminatory and highly irrational and inconsistent with the Disabilities Act, 2016.”