SC asks Centre to submit the list of elderly persons denied Haj pilgrimage repeatedly

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to submit the list of those persons who are aged above 65 years and did not get an opportunity for going to Haj even though applying consecutively for five years.

According to the news reported in Times of India, representing the Kerala Haj Committee, advocate Harris Beeran and Prashant Bhushan questioned the centre’s new Haj policy which has done away with the previous provision according to which one is automatically permitted to go for the pilgrimage if he had failed to get a chance under the state quota despite applying for four consecutive years.

This year 4.48 lakh pilgrims had applied for pilgrimage this year from Kerala but the state could accommodate only 1.23 lakh as the quota for the state by the centre has been reduced. The Kerala Haj Committee had said that “This “arbitrary and unreasonable reduction” in the state’s Haj quota had left pilgrims open to exploitation by private tour operators.”

Prashant Bhushan said that allocation of quotas to states had created an imbalance. “There are many states where there are less number of applications for Haj pilgrimage while the state enjoys a higher quota, but in states like Kerala, the reduced quota is woefully inadequate to meet the heavy rush of applicants for Haj.”

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand objected the proposal from Prashant Bhushan that Kozhikode be made the departure airport for Haj Pilgrims. She said that Kochi airport is larger than Kozhikode and has facilities to handle the pilgrims.