Published on: September 23, 2022 at 18:33 IST
In order to form Haj committees and submit a compliance report in this regard, the Supreme Court of India on Thursday gave four states an additional six weeks of time. Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry, and Maharashtra are the corresponding states and union territories.
The Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Rajasthan were also instructed to file affidavits in the case within a few weeks by a division bench of Justices Abdul Nazeer and V. Ramasubramanian.
After the petitioners’ attorney notified the court that no affidavits had been submitted in the case, this was done.
“Why are they not attending the Court? We may have to call upon the Chief secretaries”, the Bench made a comment.
The issue before the Bench was the creation of a Central Haj Committee as required by Sections 3 and 4 of the Haj Committee Act of 2002.
The Bench questioned Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj about the rationale behind not creating a Central Haj Committee as soon as the case was called for hearing.
“Natraj, why are you not constituting a central committee?”
“Rest of the States will have to do it now. State elections will have to happen. Unless they complete this process, we can’t do anything”, the ASG answered.
The Court subsequently inquired, “Is it possible to constitute Hajj committees within 4 weeks?”
The petitioner alleged that it may be required that measures need to be taken to identify such people like many of the states have done.
Later, the petitioner’s attorney said that all states that have already established committees should inform ASG Natraj so that more action can be taken.
“They (Centre) will do it. Now they have heard, no? Even if they do it, unless these people constitute, Natraj can’t do anything,” the Bench said quickly.
On which it was informed by the ASG Natraj that electoral roll needs to be finished.
The Bench expressed their delight that some progress had been achieved toward committee formation before adjourning the subject.
The Court had instructed State governments to notify it, via affidavit, if Haj committees are established in each of their respective states in August.
The court has further ordered states to list the names of the individuals who would make up the newly formed Hajj Committees.
According to the petition submitted in this regard, the Centre and the Respondent States failed to adhere to the rigorous requirements of the Haj Committee Act, 2002, and did not appoint Committees as required by the aforementioned statute.
The Court was previously informed that India has not had a functioning Central Hajj Committee since 2019.
Additionally, as of October 2021, only 1 out of 19 States has a fully working State Haj Committee, while the other 18 either lack a committee altogether or are still waiting for the State Government to act on committee appointments.