Differently-abled can now go for Haj, Centre tells Delhi High Court

November 1, 2018

Amending its Haj policy which barred differently-abled people to undertake the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the Centre on Thursday told Delhi High Court that “physical disability of a person will not be construed as an adverse physical health”.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice I S Mehta was informed that apart from people with severe medical conditions such as terminal cancers, advanced cardiac, respiratory, liver or kidney diseases, infectious tuberculosis disease or senility, no other person would be barred from the pilgrimage.

The Haj Committee of India (HCOI) “unanimously decided to allow persons with special needs to apply” under the general category, the standing counsel for the Central government Ajay Digpaul, representing the Ministry of Minority Affairs, told the court.

Digpaul placed before the bench an affidavit giving details of the changes made in the new Haj policy for 2018-22 by the HCOI and clarified that people with special needs can undertake the journey on their own or they can be accompanied by able-bodied person, who would have to be a blood relative and would take their responsibility during the pilgrimage.

The affidavit was filed in response to a PIL by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal who sought quashing of provisions in the Haj policy that barred the differently-abled people from performing the pilgrimage. The petition stated that the policy violated Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.
Dismissing the plea earlier, the court granted liberty to Bansal to challenge the amended policy.

The genesis of the rules barring disabled-people from going to Haj was when two Haj pilgrims were caught begging in Saudi Arabia and reported to the Indian consul general as seeking alms is banned in the country.

Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in April had said that the HCOI was overlooking the process of revising the provisions to allow the differently-abled individuals to go for pilgrimage.
“We wish courts and government would have been serious about hindus too. But it seems that this constitution has everything defined against Hindus and to protect so called minorities.”- Editor, Vedic Upasna Peeth


Source : The Indian Express 

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