The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Committee (NCDRC) has stated that the Haj Committee is a non for profit organization which provides services to Haj Pilgrims from India going to Saudi Arabia.
The Haj Committee does not collect any fee or service charge for the services provided by it. It only collects the actual expenses incurred by the committee and is not driven by any profit motive. Since no services are being rendered in exchange for some consideration, the pilgrims cannot be said to be consumers of the Haj Committee under Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act.
The order is pursuant to a complaint by a man and his son from Jodhpur, Rajasthan. They had applied for a Haj Pilgrimage in the year 2008. The pilgrimage has three categories of services, the “Green Category” being the best out of the three. The complainants had applied for the Green Category. Subsequent to the draw of lots of deciding the pilgrims, the complainants were chosen, for which they paid Rs. 96,940.
Their grievance was that despite paying for the Green Category, they were not accommodated in the Green Category, and rather provided services as per the Azizia Category. Thus, the complainants sought a refund to a tune of Rs. 22,362 claiming to have been collected in excess from them.
It was contested before the NCDRC that the Haj Committee was constituted under the Haj Committee Act, 2002, whose purpose was to provide services to Haj Pilgrims without any consideration and thus cannot be protected under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.