The Supreme Court issued notice in a plea seeking the constitution of a Central Haj Committee as per the provisions of the Haj Committee Act, 2002. The petitioner has alleged unlawful usage of the Central Haj Fund worth Rs 14 crore by the respondents for buying property to establish a new ‘Haj House’ in Mumbai when the Haj Committee headquarters is already situated in the Maharashtra capital.
The bench of Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari heard the petition which also sought establishment of state haj committees in every state of the country. The petition sought establishment of such committees in consonance with the provisions of the Haj Committee Act, 2002.
Senior Advocate Sanjay Hedge, appearing for the petitioner, contended that the there is no operational Central Haj Committee in India since 2019 and the Centre and the respondents have failed to comply with the strict provisions of the Haj Committee Act, 2002 as they have failed to appoint such committees under the Act.
The counsel submitted further that there is only one state of 19 states which has an operational State Haj Committee, while other states are just waiting for the state government to appoint such committees where these states do not have a functional committee for more than 3 years.
“Section 8 of the Act provides for the formation of a new committee at least 4 months prior to the expiry of the incumbent committee,” and the tenure of the previous committee has already lapsed, the counsel added.
The petition stated planning for Haj 2022 is scheduled for July 7, 2022 and will be affected severely if a committee is not appointed immediately by the Centre or the concerned state government.
A meeting was held October 22, 2021 with regard to the haj committee, where the Union Minister for Minority Affairs had given an assurance that soon an official announcement for Haj 2022 will be made in November first week.
The petition has been filed through AOR Talha Abdul Rahman whereas the petitioner is a former member of the Central Haj Committee who is seeking issuance of directions to the Haj Committee of India to seek cancellation of the lease of land for Haj House in Khargar, Navi Mumbai from City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), Mumbai, return the amounts spent thereupon to the Haj Fund and declare the said expenditure as being impermissible under law.