Rediff India Abroad
 Rediff India Abroad Home  |  All the sections


The Web

India Abroad

Sign up today!

Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Contact the editors
Discuss this article

Home > News > Report

UP court stays subsidy to Haj pilgrims

Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow | August 26, 2006 15:03 IST

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday ordered a blanket ban on the subsidy given by the central and state governments to Haj pilgrims.

The order came on a petition moved 11 years ago by advocate Hari Shankar Jain on behalf of Vishwa Hindu Parishad  activist B N Shukla, who also owns a chain of petrol pumps in the city.

While announcing their verdict, a division bench comprising Justuice A K Yog and O N Khandelwal, ruled that no subsidy should be given by the state or central governments for any kin of pilrgrimage.

The court however, sought to clarify that it did not intend to impose any restriction on the other facilities extended by the governments in the larger interest of safety and well-being of pilgrims of any community.

The order further adds, 'This would include security measures for pilgrimages like the annual Amarnath yatra as well'.

While issuing the order, the court has given six weeks time to the state and central governments to file their respective counter-affidavits in this regard.

The order has already created ripples in both political and religious circles. While political parties eyeing the Muslim vote were critical of it, the parties closely wedded to Hindutva welcomed the order .

Lawyer Hari Shankar Jain, who argued the petition was in a victorious mood. "We have succeeded in driving home our point. My contention was plain and simple �  being a secular nation, the central or state governments had no business to grant special concessions for pilgrimage by members of a particular community," he said. "The practice is  unconstitutional," he told IANS over telephone from Allahabad.

However, the ruling Samajwadi Party and the opposition Congress were clearly unhappy with the order.

"The order is not the end of the world; it will be challenged in the Apex court," said Congress spokesman Akhilesh Singh.

State SP chief Ram Saran Das told this correspondent, "How can you withdraw a facility that been available to members of a community for decades? Members of the Muslim community deserved such a subsidy because they were economically weaker than other communities."

Well-known Islamic scholar and cleric Maulana Khalid Rasheed, the head of Firangi Mahal, one of India's leading Islamic institutions, was of the view that the order was 'prejudicial'.

He wondered, "What is wrong with subsidy to Hajis? After all it was out of the state exchequer, which also spends on religious festivals like the Kumbh Mela."

The Maulana was confident that Muslims would get relief against the order from the country's Apex court.

Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 30

Sub: Subsidy for Pilgrimage

It is unjustified to provide financial help on numerous religious occasions of one community & discontinue meager help for other. We should be more tolerant.

Posted by G Smith

Sub: Are only muslims are getting such a subsidy from the Govt. ?

Dear Sir, I would like to bring to a notice to everyone who are showing interest in this subject. India as a secular country, Govt. ...

Posted by Mohsin

Sub: to my muslim countrymen

my dear muslim brethern nd sisters, pls do not take this judgement in a way that propagates hatred for our national judiciary sstem or towards ...

Posted by ashish sinha

Sub: Coutr Order

This is a great decision! Congress and other parties are appeasing the muslim and christians only for votes and as their leaders benong to these ...

Posted by Dr. Rajkumar Singh

Sub: Re: Hujj Subsidy

Its a myth that Govt.of India is giving a subsidy. Its a plan bussiness rul of discount if you buy product in bulk. On an ...

Posted by Afzal Usmani



Copyright © 2006 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.