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New Delhi: A petition was filed yesterday in the Delhi High Court against the government decision to restrict to one time the facility to avail official subsidy to perform Haj pilgrimage.
The petition by Pahchan Welfare Society, a registered society, questioned the new condition that said “all the faithfuls undertaking the pilgrimage will have to submit an affidavit with the application that they are going for the first time for the pilgrimage”.
A division bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain said a similar issue was pending before the Supreme Court and it would come up for hearing March 19. The high court bench would next hear the matter March 20. In its January 18 order, the external affairs ministry directed the Haj Committee of India to amend the guidelines for Haj pilgrims.
The new guidelines said that men who accompany women pilgrims to perform Haj also could not avail the government subsidy. The government told the bench that the “decision has been taken to give opportunities to those pilgrims who have never performed Haj before”.
The petitioner said “the impugned restrictions and instructions and guidelines in the Haj application form are in contravention of the fundamental rights and also Directive Principles of State policy of the constitution”. On the government’s direction, the Haj committee imposed new norms of once-in-a-lifetime use of subsidy for pilgrimage, as against the earlier policy of availing Haj subsidy once in five years. IANS