Remove Haj subsidy in next 10 years: Supreme Court

Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Union government to gradually reduce and abolish Haj subsidy in 10 years and invest the amount—averaging over Rs 650 crore a year for last five years — in education and other measures for social development of the minority community.“We direct the Central government to progressively reduce the amount of subsidy so as to completely eliminate it within a period of 10 years from today,” said a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana P Desai in an order that reflected a resolve which successive governments had failed to muster in the last 60 years. "The subsidy money may be more profitably used for uplift of the community in education and other indices of social development,” said Justice Alam, who wrote the order. “We have no doubt that a very large majority of Muslims applying to the Haj committee for going to Haj would not be aware of the economics of their pilgrimage and of all the facts are made known a good many of the pilgrims would not be very comfortable in the knowledge that their Haj is funded to a substantial extent by the government,” the bench said while reminding the community about Holy Quran’s verse 97 in Surah 3, Al-e-Imran, which mandated that Muslims should undertake Haj only if they could afford it.


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