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Delhi HC grants relief to ‘ineligible’ Haj Group Organisations
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Delhi HC grants relief to ‘ineligible’ Haj Group Organisations

Directs Ministry of Minority Affairs to render reason for disqualification

Post by Irfan Yattoo on Thursday, May 11, 2023

First slide

Srinagar, May 10: The Delhi High Court has directed the Ministry of Minority Affairs (Haj Division) to communicate the reasons for declaring 280 Hajj Group Organisers (HGOs) ineligible for Hajj 2023 by or before May 10.
A single-judge bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh said that the petitioners (HGOs) who are aggrieved by the reasons which are communicated to them are free to make their respective representations to the Ministry by May 12, 2023 midnight, as also remove deficiencies, through the e-mail address mentioned in the public notice.
Justice Singh directed the Ministry to decide the representations of the petitioners and communicate to them through email by 6 pm on May 19, 2023.
"In case any of the petitioners are found eligible, their candidature shall be considered for the allotment of the remaining visas in accordance with the Ministry’s Policy," the court directed.
The court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by HGOs challenging the public notice issued by the Ministry of Minority Affairs (Haj Division) on May 05, this year, declaring the eligible and ineligible HGOs for Hajj 2023.
The grievance of the petitioners is that they fall in the list of 280 HGOs who have been rendered ineligible as per the said public notice.
The petitioners contended that the reasons for declaring 280 HGOs as ineligible have not been communicated to them.
They pointed out that though the public notice gives an opportunity to the petitioners to submit a representation by the due date i.e., 8th May, 2023 (5:00pm), "since the petitioners are not even aware of the reasons which have rendered them ineligible, no representations can be made. Thus, the notice declaring them ineligible is under challenge."
On the other hand, the counsel appearing for the Ministry of Minority Affairs submitted that the reasons for each of the petitioners, who have been rendered ineligible, are being prepared and shall be served upon all the 280 HGOs.
"Such HGOs are free to file their representations within two working days," the counsel said.
He submitted before the court that the representations would be decided within one week and the allotment of quota would not be exhausted prior to the decision on the representations.
Analyzing the public notice, the court noted that out of 810 HGOs, 171 HGOs have been found eligible in category-1 and 340 HGOs have been found eligible in category-2 for Haj 2023.
The court was informed that the total number of visas that are to be allotted to the HGOs this year are 35,005. Each of the category-1 and category-2 HGOs operators are entitled to 60 visas and 50 visas respectively.
"Thus, insofar as the eligible HGOs are concerned, a total of 10,260 and 17,000 would be exhausted. There would be a large number of remaining visas which would have to be dealt with in accordance with the HGO Policy 2023 of the Ministry," Justice Singh said
The bench, while considering the fact that the reasons for declaring the petitioners have not been communicated to the petitioners, said that the opportunity to make representations by 8th May 2023 at 5pm is of no consequence, as there is no basis for filing a representation.
Allowing the petitions, the court directed the Ministry to communicate the reasons for ineligibility to the petitioners on or before 10th May, 2023 by 6:00 pm.

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