The Supreme Court asked the Centre on Monday to “engage with” the states to ensure that they set up Haj committees for a smooth conduct of the annual pilgrimage.
A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala took note of the submissions made by Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, who appeared in the matter on behalf of the Centre, that according to the instructions he has, all states except Odisha have set up Haj panels.
The law officer further informed the bench that the Central Haj Committee has also been set up by the Union government.
“The subject matter of the petition primarily is regarding the Central Haj Committee and state Haj committees. Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj says that the Central Haj Committee has been constituted,” the bench noted in its order.
It directed the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs, the nodal ministry to conduct the annual pilgrimage in India, to engage with the states to ensure that they set up their respective Haj panels.
With regard to vacancies in the central panel — the Haj Committee of India (HCoI), a statutory organisation — the bench asked the Union government to fill those expeditiously within three months. The bench then disposed of the petition filed by Hafiz Naushad Ahmad Azmi, seeking a direction to set up the central and state Haj panels for a smooth pilgrimage of Indian Muslims.
Haj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the holy city for Muslims.