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AG’s plea on Haj quota thrown out

Published: 28th July 2012 11:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th July 2012 11:49 AM   |  A+A-

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain the request made by Attorney General G E Vahanvati to defer till next year its order of July 23 on reducing the discretionary quota of Haj pilgrims from the proposed 5,050 to 300.

On Friday, when the AG made a request in this regard to a Bench comprising Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, the Bench said it was not possible to defer its order till the next year.

The Bench was hearing a batch of petitions filed by private tour operators (PTOs) who had challenged some norms fixed by the government for the operators. On the petitions, the Bench said there could be no monopolisation and asked the Centre to frame a fresh PTOs policy for the annual Haj pilgrimage from next year onwards. The Bench asked the AG to come out with a new policy for permitting fresh players in private transport sector.

“We know that the present policy is not perfect. But we do not want to interfere in this year’s policy,” Justice Alam said.

But, there is a lot of scope for improvement in the government’s present policy by taking into consideration the suggestions and complaints made by various tour operators who have been knocked out of the business because of certain norms prescribed by the government, the Bench said.

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