Apex court wants VIP quota for Haj to be quashed
The Supreme Court yesterday said the "goodwill" delegation that the government sends every year during Haj to Saudi Arabia has become some kind of VIP quota and it should be stopped since it is not in conformity with religious duty.
An apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai said the government has proposed to reduce the strength of the “goodwill” delegation to one-plus-nine, but it should come down to one-plus-three-or-four, and eventually cease altogether.
Justice Alam said the visit by the goodwill delegation was started in 1967, as a friendly gesture to the Saudi Arabian government and could not be allowed to go on in perpetuity. The court said it has become some kind of VIP quota and was not in conformity with religious duty.
The government told the court that it intends to reduce the present strength of the “goodwill” delegation from the existing 32 people to 10. The first delegation in 1967 had three members, but the number gradually peaked to 35 in 2005.