Mon, 05 Jun 2023

New Delhi [India], March 30 (ANI): A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been moved in Delhi High Court challenging office Memorandum (OM) issued by Haj Division, Ministry of Minority Affairs on March 20, 2023, according to which only Central Police Force employees will be allowed to serve and travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the Haj 2023 as Haj Officers and Haj Assistants this year for the purpose of service on deputation.

The petitioner stated that the plea has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution, seeking a direction to the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs to amend the Office Memorandum, which was issued on March 20, 2023, to the extent of giving an opportunity to all Muslim employees of Centre, State and Union territories (UTs) to go on the pilgrimage as officers and assistants.

The petition called it a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and, hence, unconstitutional.

"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 a 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," the plea stated.

The PIL is scheduled to come up for hearing on April 5 before the bench of Justice Satish Chander Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad.

The plea has been moved by advocate Aslam Ahmed and advocate Raees Ahmed for the petitioner, Aamir Javed.

In his media statement, advocate Aslam Ahmed said, "Muslim employees working in the other states and departments have been prohibited this time from serving in deputation team for the Haj 2023 period."The PIL petitioner Aamir Javed had addressed a communique dated March 23, 2023, to the Minority Affairs minister and had appealed to the ministry to amend the impugned Office Memorandum/Order and allow the employees of all the States/UTs and departments, for the purpose of applying to the deputation service, in line with the constitutionally guaranteed right.

"However, no response or assistance was received from the Ministry in this regard," claimed the petitioner.

The plea further stated, "The operation of the impugned Office Memorandum/Order causes discrimination volte-face between Government employees, at the outset."Speaking in this regard, Delhi High Court advocate Raees Ahmed, a former member of the Delhi Minority Commission, stated, "If the employees are not selected from all the states, the pilgrims will face linguistic problems during the Haj pilgrimage period. Hajis from all the States of India go to perform Haj, and all of them do not know English, Hindi or Urdu and many of the Hajis speak regional states' languages. Therein, it is difficult to ascertain as to how these regional language-speaking Hajis willbe prejudiced, and deeply affected.""In fact, the Haj Committee and the Consulate General of India at Jeddah will also face this linguistic problem as well as an inconvenience which in turn will have a domino effect on the millions of pilgrims going from India," he added. (ANI)

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