Thursday, February 29, 2024

Foreign Nationals case: SC directs plea bargaining applications of UP, Bihar be disposed of by trial court

New Delhi (ILNS): The Supreme Court today directed that all pending applications of plea bargaining pending before the Trial Courts in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar relating to the blacklisting of foreign nationals for attending the Nizamuddin Markaz congregation in the National Capital are to be disposed of expeditiously. 

The bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna had earlier asked the trial courts to expedite hearing in the pending cases against foreign  Tablighi Jamaat members for alleged visa violations.

Senior Advocate Maneka Guruswamy, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that there were three facets of the case. The first pertained to the events in States of UP and Bihar and the complete discharge of eight petitioners.

The second facet pertained to an order passed previously by the Supreme Court about the expeditious disposal of the case.

Thirdly, nothing had been done with regard to plea bargaining applications pending before the trial Courts.

With respect to the first issue the bench directed ASG Nataraj to report on the matter in one week’s time after he submitted that it will take some time.

Guruswamy thereafter submitted that when the matter was first taken up, it came in a non-adversarial manner and the petitioners were assured that something would happen. Moreover the Solicitor General had assured that the matter would not be adversarial. 

On Guruswamy’s submission that the foreigners have been in the country since March 2020, ASG Nataraj replied that it was their choice to be tried. Guruswamy then responded:  “If they are innocent, they would want to be discharged on merits.”

The bench then said: “There is a difference between plea bargaining and discharge.”

Passing a common order for the state of UP and Bihar, the bench directed the lawyers to bring the Order rendered to the concerned Court and to dispose of the plea bargaining within one week.

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