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SC dismisses petition contesting Hajj quota


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The Supreme Court dismissed the Fundamental Rights petition contesting the impugned allocation of Hajj pilgrims quota for 2017.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and Justice Anil Gooneratne dismissed the Petition for non-inclusion of necessary parties, the other tour operators, as respondents.

Petitioners, nine Hajj/Umrah travel operators, cited Director of Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs M.R.M. Malik, Minister of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs M.H.M. Haleem, members of the Hajj Committee of Ministry of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs and the Attorney General as Respondents.

S. Rushdie appeared for the Petitioners. S.A. Parathalingam PC with N.R. Sivendran appeared for the Hajj Committee. Sanjeeva Jayawardane PC appeared for 30 Hajj travel operators. Senior State Counsel Suren Gnanaraj appeared for the State.

Counsel for the Respondents raised preliminary objection on the maintainability of the Petition as they had deliberately failed to make the other Hajj travel operators who are necessary party as Respondents.

S.A. Parathalingam PC submitted this is mala fide on the part of the petitioners and the entire application causes vexation as every year, for purely commercial purposes, the Petitioners come before the Court trying to stop the Hajj pilgrimage, to the prejudice of the pilgrims.

He said this time round, the matter was even worse as the petitioners have attempted to keep out the successful Hajj travel operators.

Sanjeeva Jayawardane PC submitted these very petitioners had filed a previous Fundamental Rights petition in respect of the 2016 Hajj quota allocation, where his clients, the Hajj travel operators, had been made party respondents but as a clear example of bad faith, the Petitioners had deliberately tried to keep his clients out in a fraudulent bid to prevent them from being heard.

Petitioners state they seek to challenge the alleged arbitrary, irrational, capricious and unreasonable allocation of the Hajj pilgrims quota for the year 2017 which circumvents and disregards the provisions of the disclosed and published criteria for selection and evaluation.

(SS)


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