The Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case Parvinder Singh Kittna v. State of Punjab and others observed and seek the response of Punjab Government on the Public Interest Litigation, PIL moved challenging the recently launched ‘Mukhya Mantri Tirth Yatra Scheme.’
The Division bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Nidhi Gupta in the case observed and has issued notice to the state government, on the plea moved by Parvinder Singh Kittna seeking stay on the scheme.
In the present case, the Tirth Yatra scheme launched by the State Government which reportedly aims to facilitate the pilgrims to various holy places across the country and the state.
The petition moved stated that it amounts to colossal wastage of funds by the State Government, by raising the debts and also from the taxes which are paid by the citizens.
Adding to it, the plea stated that as per scheme, the state will manage all arrangements for the pilgrims, which includes the travel and lodging. Thus, the Senior PCS Officers will act as Nodal Officers, who will visit the shrines in advance and will coordinate for making necessary arrangements for food, and accommodation in AC Dharamshalas and for facilitation of darshan.
The petitioner in the plea stated that it is exploitation of religious sentiments rather than fulfilling the responsibility of government to uplift community education and address other issues of social development.
The court also placed Reliance upon the case Union of India and others v. Rafique Shaikh Bhikan and another [and other connected matter], wherein the Supreme Court stated while examining the Haj Subsidy Scheme that this court is of the view that Hajj Subsidy is something that is best done away with.
Further, it has been directed by the Apex Court that the amount of Haj Subsidy should be progressively reduced, so as to completely eliminate it within the period of 10 days from today i.e., the date of the judgment), and the Subsidy money may be more profitably used for the upliftment of the community, in education and other indices of social development.
The plea moved before the court seeks the stay on the operation of the scheme.
The court while considering the facts and circumstances of the case stated that the State to file an affidavit in response to the petition before the next date of hearing.
Accordingly, the court listed the matter for further consideration on December 12, 2023.
The counsel, Advocate H.C Arora appeared for the petitioner.