Hajj pilgrims can choose any KSA-bound airline

February 21, 2014

Says High Court
The High Court yesterday declared ‘illegal’ the government’s decision directing Hajj pilgrims to choose only Biman Bangladesh Airlines or Saudi Arabia Airlines for going to Saudi Arabia.
Terming the government decision “illegal”, the HC said that the Hajj pilgrims could choose any airline while going to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj. After the final hearing on a writ petition, the HC bench, comprising Justice Salma Masud Chowdhury and Justice Md Habibul Gani, passed the order.
After the HC order, petitioners’ counsel Mahbub Shafiq told reporters that the Hajj pilgrims could choose any airline to go to Saudi Arabia from now on. There is no legal bar on the pilgrims choosing any airline they like.
On April 24, 2013, the ministry of civil aviation and tourism decided that only Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines would carry Hajj pilgrims.
Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) vice president Abdul Kabir Khan and a Hajj pilgrim, Rezaul Islam, jointly filed the writ petition on July 29 last year, seeking the court’s directive against the government decision.
The petitioners alleged that the ministry’s decision is unconstitutional and arbitrary and against the spirit of
competition laws. Following the petition, the HC on the same day ruled that pilgrims can choose any airline they like to travel to the Hajj.
It also issued a rule asking the government to explain within four weeks why its decision, restricting the Hajj pilgrims to choose either Biman Bangladesh Airlines or Saudi Arabia Airlines for going to Saudi Arabia, should not be declared illegal.
Upon an appeal filed by the government against the HC order, the Chamber Judge of the Appellate Division on August 3, 2013, stayed the HC order and upheld for eight weeks the government decision that the two carriers would transport all the Hajj pilgrims.
Under the apex court order, the Hajj pilgrims went to Saudi Arabia by Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabia Airlines for performing Hajj last year.

Courtesy of The Independent

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