Keywords – Hajj, Islam, HGOs, SC, HC, ASG
Hajj is a pilgrimage of the Islam religion to Mecca, Saudi Arabia which is done annually. Islamists consider Mecca to be the holiest city. Majority of people take part in this pilgrimage through a private Hajj Group Organizers (HGOs). The registration is mandatory to be done by the organizers to avail the quota which is published in the Consolidated List of Allocation of Hajj Quota for Hajj. Some of these HGOs were recognized as well as provided with the registration certificate.
But when the Consolidated List of Allocation of Hajj Quota for Hajj released its list, then certificates of some HGOs were withheld by the central government. The reason being given that due to complaint related matters the certificates are kept under abeyance.
Then a notice also was issued against these HGOs on ground that some default had been committed by these HGOs. In response to which these groups moved to the Delhi High Court filing a petition that restricting the certificates as well as the comments made on the list would amount to the infringement of the Fundamental Rights of these groups organizers as they had done advance booking of the pilgrims as well as had also taken advance amount from them.
The Delhi High Court had stayed the comments that were made in the list as not to obstruct the pilgrimage as the pilgrims had registered with the HGOs in bona fide.
TheUnion Government had later filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the decision of the Delhi High Court. The matter went into the Court of two judge vacation bench, Justice Surya Kant and Justice M M Sundresh.
Additional Solicitor General, Sanjay Jain on behalf of the Union Government argued that if such unregistered HGOs would be allowed to take the pilgrimage then the ultimate sufferers would be the pilgrims themselves. He further told the SC that the Union Government did not meant to impact negatively the pilgrims and also assured that their travel duties would be provided to the other registered HGOs and due to these matters the pilgrims would not have to pay anything extra. ASG also said that the concern of the High Court was also the same that is about the pilgrims but if they were sent through the unregistered HGOs then the pilgrims had to only suffer in Saudi Arabia.
The Supreme Court did not see any reason to intervene in this matter as this case was already registered under the Delhi High Court. Justice Suryakant lastly said that the main focus should be that the pilgrims do their pilgrimage without any psychology pressure of this litigation. He also said that it would be better if any action is not taken against these HGOs till the time they come back from Saudi Arabia. The Court has then lastly refused to hear the matter against the Delhi High Court.
Written by – Yashashvi Mishra, College – S S Khanna Girls Degree College, University of Allahabad, Year – 2nd year 4th semester, an intern under Legal Vidhiya