Today, the Supreme Court of India rejected a plea filed by the Union government against the order passed by the Delhi High Court which stayed the suspension of registration of certain private Haj Group Organizers. During the hearing, the Additional Solicitor General appearing for Union, Sanjay Jain, argued that the pilgrims will suffer if the private Haj operators were permitted to carry on haj tours. The case was mentioned before the vacation bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justice MM Sundresh and Justice Surya Kant. The top Court said that the matter was to be heard by the Division bench of the Delhi High Court on 7 July 2023, therefore, the Supreme Court bench will not interfere in the same. It also said that the Union should allow the pilgrims to go to Haj without any psychological pressure of ongoing litigation.
ASG, while elaborating on the issue, mentioned that “There is a system in place. Saudi Arabia grants a quota- 80% goes to the Haj Committee of India and the remaining is operated through the Haj Group Organizers (HGOs). HDOs have to meet certain criteria. In the month of May, 512 HGOs were cleared. On 25th May, we received a serious complaint against one of them. They then approached the High Court of Delhi…” He also said that the Union Government has no motive of negatively impacting the pilgrims. ASG further proposed that “We don’t want to impact the Haj pilgrims in any manner. They will not have to spend anything extra from pocket. Their travel will be given to other HGOs. The Government of India is giving them a financial guarantee.” He also mentioned that the Delhi High Court also passed an order ensuring that the interest of pilgrims should not be compromised in any manner. He added, “The concern of the High Court was also that the pilgrims should not be disadvantaged. If these HGOs are not up to the mark, the pilgrims will face difficulties in Saudi Arabia.”
The bench further refused to entertain the matter and said “All these contentions will be dealt by the High Court. Let the pilgrims go to Haj without any psychological pressure of ongoing litigation…It would be wiser for you to not take any action against them (HGOs) till they come back…they won’t stay in Saudi Arabia till long.”