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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Delhi HC seeks response on plea for equal opportunity for Muslim employees in Haj assistance

The Delhi High Court has asked the Minority Affairs Ministry to respond to a plea seeking equal opportunity for Muslim employees in assisting Haj pilgrims instead of only deputing Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel.

The petition challenged the ministry’s March 20 office memorandum that included only CAPF employees on temporary deputation.

The bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad has listed the matter for the next hearing on May 10 and asked the Haj Division of the Union Ministry to present its stance on record.

Advocate Aamir Javed had filed a plea seeking an amendment to the office memorandum to provide opportunities to all Muslim employees of the Centre, States, and Union Territories as coordinators (admin), assistant Haj officers, and Haj assistants for Haj-2023.

The plea claimed that the current memorandum violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to equality.

As per the office memorandum, around 1.4 lakh Indian pilgrims are expected to participate in Haj 2023, with the first flight scheduled for May 21. The annual pilgrimage is expected to take place around the end of June.

“The present petition is being filed on the basis that other central or State Government/UTs administration employees are not eligible for any deputation in the Office Memorandum dated March 20, 2023, which earlier was a practice of the Government of India to send male and female members of the Muslim community who are employees of various Government department on deputation for the temporary basis to Consulate General of India, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to render assistance to Haj pilgrims as Coordinators (Admin), Assistant Haj Officers (AHO) and Haj Assistants (HA) for Haj,” stated the plea.

“The office memorandum states that the work related to Haj is administrative, and only CAPF employees are eligible, while other permanent employees are excluded. This violates the constitutional rights of other employees who want to serve Haj pilgrims,” the plea added.

The petitioner also mentioned that a letter was sent to Union Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani requesting to amend the memorandum on March 22, but no response was received following which the petitioner has filed the plea in court.

(This article has been published via a syndicated feed)

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