Kerala Haj Committee files plea challenging Centre’s Haj pilgrim selection

New Delhi: The Kerala Haj Committee on Monday filed a plea challenging the Centre’s guidelines in Haj pilgrim selection.

The three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, along with Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, was hearing the plea filed by the Kerala Haj Committee.

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to file a reply as to what are the states and their quota status with respect to giving quota to Haj pilgrims.

The matter would come up for hearing on February 21.

Earlier in January, the Union government scrapped the Haj subsidy for pilgrims as the fund will instead be used for the empowerment of minorities from this year.

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the Haj subsidy funds will now be used for the education of girls and women of the minority community.

However, there is an exception to the rules for the poor and people over 70 years of age.

Naqvi also stated that Muslim women in India have been allowed to travel for Haj without a ‘Mehram’, or a male guardian.

A bilateral agreement was signed in connection with Haj 2018, during the meeting between Naqvi and Saudi Arabia’s Haj and Umrah Minister Muhammad Benten.

Naqvi met with Dr Benten at his office in Mecca on January 14 for signing the annual Haj agreement.

A total of 1,70,000 Indian pilgrims are expected to travel for Haj in 2018. (ANI)