The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought Centre’s reply on a plea to quash new Haj policy that debars differently-abled people from undertaking the annual pilgrimage.
The petitioner, advocate Gaurav Bansal, alleged that some provisions of the new policy violated Articles 14, 21 and 25-pertaining to equality and freedom to practice religion of the Constitution.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Hari Shankar issued a notice to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Haj Committee of India asking them to file their response on the matter by April 11.
Disability rights activists opposed the policy last week, saying the discriminatory guidelines were derogatory and “abusive in nature” since they referred to the disabled as “crippled” and “lunatic.” The Guidelines for Haj (2018-22), issued by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, state that “persons whose legs are amputated, who are crippled, handicapped, lunatic or otherwise physically/ mentally incapacitated” cannot apply for Haj.
In a letter to Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, disability rights activists said the guidelines not only “blatantly discriminate against persons with disabilities” but are also “in violation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWDA), 2016, which has equality and non-discrimination as its guiding principle.” Read more here.
“We have sent letters to Naqvi asking him to drop these discriminatory provisions, and have also discussed the matter with some Members of Parliament in the hope that they will raise it on the floor of the House during the ongoing winter session,” Muralidharan, secretary of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), said earlier this week.