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Supreme Court issues notice on Haj subsidy

Supreme Court issues notice on Haj subsidy

Publication: Rediff.com
Date: January 18, 2007
URL: http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/jan/18haj.htm

The Supreme Court has sought the Centre's reply on a petition challenging the Constitutional validity of the Haj Committee Act, 1959 and the provision of annual financial assistance by the Government to Muslims going on the pilgrimage.

The petition filed by Prafull Goradia, a businessman alleged that the estimated Rs 280 crore annually incurred by the government for funding the Haj pilgrimage was not only unconstitutional but was a severe drain on the tax payers' money.

Goradia complained that provision of special subsidy to the Muslim community to the exclusion of others like Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs was violative of the Constitution as the State cannot discriminate between the citizens on the grounds of religion, caste or creed.

The petition quoted various provisions of the Constitution, including Article 27, which provided, 'that no person shall be compelled to pay any taxes, the proceeds of which are specifically appropriated for the payment of expenses for the promotion and maintenance of any particular religion."

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