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Foreigners facing trial in Tablighi case may leave during pendency of case, says govt in SC

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court was today informed that foreigners facing trial for attending the Tablighi Jamaat activities in Delhi may leave the country during the pendency of the cases. 

A three-judge bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a plea filed by 34 foreign nationals challenging the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to blacklist over 3,000 of them from travelling to India for a period of 10 years. 

The Bureau of Immigration under the MHA had blacklisted these individuals under Category A. According to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, most of these people are facing criminal charges and blacklisting an individual was a sovereign plenary function. According to the Central government these people violated the Visa Manual 2019 by taking part in Tablighi Jamaat activities and also committed an offence punishable the Foreigners Act, 1946.

Ministry of Home Affairs

The Apex Court had allowed 3460 foreign nationals to challenge the government orders of visa cancellation my making a representation before the authorities. 

During the hearing today, SG Mehta stated that the trial will continue before different magistrates and all cases which are pending before different courts in Delhi can be consolidated. He submitted that out of 34 petitioners 10 people have chosen to face trial and not to go for plea bargaining. “The rest are free to go, many have gone also,” Mehta said.

The Court recorded SG Mehta’s submission that if the concerned petitioners tender an apology, they are free to go back to their respective countries, despite the pendency of proceedings. Regarding the 10 members who have not taken the option of plea bargaining, the bench found it appropriate that their cases be taken before one court.

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Mehta assured the court that expeditious trials would take place and cases would be disposed in one month. He asked for a list with names of people who haven’t returned to their countries along with their stage of trial.

The matter will be next heard after 8 weeks. 

– India Legal Bureau

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