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Supreme Court rules in favour of Hajj pilgrims choosing any airlines

Hajj pilgrims can choose any airlines to travel to Saudi Arabia, according to a verdict by the top court.

The four-member Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha on Thursday scrapped the State’s plea against a High Court order.

In April 2013, the government said that pilgrims can fly only Saudi Arabian Airlines or Biman Bangladesh for the annual pilgrimage.

Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) Vice President Abdul Kabir Khan, Secretary General Sheikh Abdullah and a pilgrim Rezaul Islam challenged it in the High Court the same year.

In July 2013, an HC bench issued an interim order in favour of the petitioners and also issued a rule asking the government to explain why the decision will not be declared illegal.

The State managed to stay the HC verdict after it moved the Supreme Court’s chamber judge.

The petitioners then moved the Appellate Division, which then ordered the High Court to resolve the matter within three months.

One Feb 20, 2014, the High Court ruled against the government order, which designated airlines for Hajj pilgrims.

On Thursday, the apex court rejected the State’s plea against the HC verdict.

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