'Protected by Law': Delhi HC Restores Haj Organisers' Suspended Quota

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said that the Union government's suspension of registration certificates and Haj quotas to the organisers in this case was in derogation of pilgrims' constitutional right to practice their religion.

New Delhi: A Delhi high court bench restored the registration certificates and Haj quotas of several Haj Group Organisers (HGOs) on Wednesday, May 7.

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said that if the HGOs’ certificates and quotas remained suspended, the pilgrims who registered with them would be unable to perform their religious duties, which are protected by the constitution.

“This court is of the view that such an action would defeat the purpose of the current Haj policy and is in derogation of Article 25 of the Constitution of India,” Justice Singh’s order said.

Article 25 of the Indian constitution guarantees the freedom to practice, profess and propagate religion.

According to ThePrint, the Delhi high court was hearing a batch of petitions filed by HGOs whose registration certificates and Haj quotas were suspended by the Union government on May 25 after being initially issued on May 18.

The suspensions came after the HGOs allegedly “misrepresented facts” to the government.

Also Read: Union Government to End ‘VIP’ Haj Quota

The government registers certain private entities as HGOs as part of its Haj policy, according to which a fixed quota of people are allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia each year to perform Haj, a pilgrimage mandated by Islam.

Traditionally, the majority of Haj pilgrims from India travel through a government body called the Haj Committee of India, while the remaining do so through HGOs.

Although he restored the petitioner HGOs’ certificates, Justice Singh allowed the government to continue its investigation into the allegations against the HGOs.

“The respondents [the Union government] shall ensure that the pilgrims who have been affected by the defaults on the part of the petitioner, do not suffer and are able to undertake the Haj pilgrimage without any obstruction,” he added.