HC sets aside single judge order to allot quota to new PTOs

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Chennai, Aug 7 (UNI) Madras High Court has set aside the order of a single judge, directing the External Affairs Ministry to allot quota to new private tour operators(PTOs) for 2008 Haj pilgrimage.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Justice F M Ibrahim Kallifulla while allowing the appeal, filed by the External Affairs Ministry, said the direction given by the single judge cannot be sustained.

The single judge did not have the benefit of considering the latest communication of the Ministry of Haj, Royal Government of Saudi Arabia and, as such, obviously came to an erroneous decision, which cannot be sustained and it was set aside, the bench added.

As per an agreement between the Union of India and the Royal Government of Saudi Arabia, a quota of 1,60,491 Haj pilgrims were allotted for India. While 1.1 lakh would travel through the Haj Committee of India, the remaining were to travel through registered private operators.

While there were 293 registered operators last year, may more applications came up for registration this year.

Allowing a writ plea of a private operator, a single judge on July 8, directed the Centre to enroll new tour operators and asked the Government to treat all operators on par.


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