-Report by Tushar Yadav
Applications of 299 organisers were rejected by the Ministry of MinorityAffairs out of 810 applications to organize Haj 2023, in the case of AL HATIM TOURS AND TRAVELS PVT. LTD. Vs UNION OF INDIA.
The judgement was given by a single judge bench of Delhi High Court, by Justice Pratibha M. Singh. These petitions were filed by Haj Group Organisers (HGOs) for Haj 2023, challenging the public notice dated 5th May 2023 issued by the Ministry of Minority Affairs (Haj Division). By way of the impugned public notice, the Ministry has declared the eligible and ineligible HGOs for Haj 2023. The Ministry of Urban Affairs invited a total of 810 applications for Haj 2023, under 2 categories (244 in Category-1 and 566 in Category-2) out of which, 171 HGOs in Category-1 and 340 HGOs in Category-2 have been found eligible for registration for Haj 2023. The rest of the 280 HGOs were not found eligible for Haj 2023.
The grievance of the petitioners is that they fall on the list of 280 HGOs who have been rendered ineligible as per the above public notice by the Ministry of Minority Affairs. The issue raised by the petitioners is that the reasons for declaring them as ineligible have not been communicated to thePetitioners.
Thus, though the above public notice gives an opportunity to the Petitioners tosubmit a representation by the due date of 8th May 2023 (5:00 pm), since the petitioners are not even aware of the reasons which have rendered themineligible, no representations can be made.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs through Mr. S.S Verma, Deputy Secretarysubmitted that the reasons for all of the Petitioners, who have been renderedineligible, are being prepared and shall be served upon all the 280 HGOs latestby tomorrow i.e., 10th May 2023, such HGOs are free to file their
representations within two working days. The representations would bedecided within one week and the allotment of quota would not be exhausted prior to the decision on the representations.
After hearing from both sides, the court came to the conclusion that the totalnumber of visas that are to be allotted to the HGOs this year is 35,005 in whicheach Category-1 and category-2 operators are entitled to 60 visas and 50 visasrespectively. Thus, insofar as the eligible HGOs are concerned, a total of 10,260and 17,000 would be exhausted. There would be a large number of remainingvisas which would have to be dealt with in accordance with the HGO Policy 2023 of the Ministry.
Considering the fact that the reasons for declaring the petitioners have not beencommunicated to the petitioners, the opportunity to make representations by 8thMay 2023 at 5 PM is of no account now, as there is no basis for filing arepresentation. Accordingly, the new directions are issued under which theMinistry will communicate the reasons for ineligibility to the Petitioners on orbefore 10th May 2023 by 6:00 pm. and the petitioners who are aggrieved by thereasons which are communicated to them are free to make their respectiverepresentations to the Ministry by 12th May 2023 midnight, as also remove deficiencies, through the e-mail address mentioned in the public notice. Therepresentations shall be decided by the Ministry and shall be communicated tothe Petitioners through email by 6 pm on 19th May 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.
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