Travel agency allowed to proceed with FR case against Fowzie, others


By Chitra Weerarathne

The Supreme Court yesterday granted a Haj-pilgrimage operator leave to proceed with a fundamental rights violation plea against Minister A. H. M. Fowzie and officials of the Ministry of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs.

The petitioner, Travel Data Tour and Travels Private Limited of Colombo, had complained to Court that Minister of Urban Affairs A. H. M. Fowzie, had been allocated 2,500 visas, last year, to send Haj-pilgrims to Saudi Arabia in the near future. The petitioner claimed that he had been granted 60 visas, but this year, he had been left out and the 2,500 visas issued by the Saudi Kingdom had been allocated to A. H. M. Fowzie. This was a mala-fide practice that had transpired subsequent to a meeting held on August 1, 2012. The petitioner alleged arbitrary treatment by the Minister and the officials of the Department of Muslim religions and cultural affairs and requested the Court to direct the respondents to formulate a transparent policy to allocate visas, issued to send pilgrim from Sri Lanka for Haj.

The petition was supported by J. C. Weliamuna.

The Court granted leave to proceed and fixed the date for mention of the matter as September 27, 2012.

Counsel Weliamuna said that there could be a settlement in this issue by that time.

The Bench comprised Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Justice K. Sirpavan and Justice Eva Wanasundera.

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