New Delhi: The Supreme Court in an interim order on Tuesday struck down the Centre's policy of giving subsidies to Haj pilgrims. The court also asked the Centre to eliminate the policy of Haj subsidies over a period of ten years.
The Supreme Court further directed the Centre to reduce the number of its representatives to two persons to be sent along with Haj delegations.
"We hold that this policy (giving subsidies to Haj pilgrims) is best done away with," the apex court said.
The order is only for Haj policy of 2012.
India has a quota of 1.75 lakhs pilgrims every year. Of these, 1.25 lakhs are selected through Haj committees. Each pilgrim gets a subsidy of Rs 40,000. Rest of the pilgrims go through private operators.
AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi welcomed the ruling. He said, "I had demanded that the Haj subsidy should be done away with. Under the garb of subsidy, the entire amount is going to Air India."
He further said, "But why ten years? An amount of Rs 600 crore should be given to the Minority Welfare Ministry for educating Muslims."
Meanwhile, the BJP lauded the ruling. Demanding parity, party MP Yogi Adityanath said, "Like Haj, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra should also be subsidised."