The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre’s reply on a plea by the Kerala Haj Committee seeking all-India draw of lots to decide allocation of Haj quota.
Currently, the quota allotted to India is divided among states depending on the Muslim population in each state.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked the central government to file its response on the plea within two weeks and posted the petition for hearing on January 30.
The petitioners claimed that the current scheme under which a state-wise draw of lots is held is discriminatory as it leaves out many of those who want to go for Haj but do not get the chance as the quota is limited. They demanded a stay on the process till the court decided the matter. But the bench refused to grant the prayer for stay.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the Haj committee referred to the example of Bihar and said it gets 12,000 Haj seats against the total 6,900 applicants.In contrast, Kerala gets 6,000 seats against 95,000 applicants desiring to go for the pilgrimage.
“As a result, every applicant in Bihar gets the opportunity to go for Haj. However, in Kerala, the situation is unpleasant,” he said. He said this could be solved if there was an all-India draw of lots to decide who will go
on Haj. Attorney-General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, justified the current quota policy saying it had been devised by the Central Haj Committee after considering the suggestions of 31 different state Haj committees.