SC does away with 10 year travel restriction on 9 foreigner Tablighi Jamaat members

Tablighi Jamaat

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has modified a Karnataka High Court order which imposed restrictions on nine Tablighi Jamaat members to visit India for 10 years, as they had attended the event in Nizamuddin Markaz in March at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna said: “We clarify that in case the appellant (Toichubek Uulu Bakytbek) and 8 others similarly situated persons apply for visa to visit India, the application(s) would be considered on merits without being influenced by the directions given in paragraph (i) of the impugned judgment dated October 13, 2020, and the affidavit/undertaking filed by the appellant and 8 others.”

The top court modified the order issued by the Karnataka High Court on October 13. The top court came on a plea of foreigner Tablighi Jamaat members, who were aggrieved by the High Court order.

During the hearing, it was pointed out that exit permits have been issued and the foreign Tablighi Jamaat members would leave for their home countries shortly. “In view of the said statement, it is accepted that these appeals have become infructuous, except viz. the restriction/condition that the appellant would not visit India for next ten years”, observed the top court.

Earlier this month, the counsel for Tablighi Jamaat members submitted before the Supreme Court that their trial in the alleged visa violations has become a punishment. Following these submissions, the Supreme Court asked the trial courts to expedite hearing in the pending cases.

Senior advocate C.U. Singh, representing other members, submitted that revisions have been sought by the authorities in cases where some foreign jamaat members have been discharged. Singh argued that the trial has become a punishment for them, even after discharge the revision applications are filed. Singh argued, “They are not being allowed to go back to their countries.”

A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna observed that the court should dispose of these petitions expeditiously and scheduled the matter for further hearing on November 20. The petitions have been filed challenging the blacklisting of foreign members of Tablighi Jamaat, who attended the Nizamuddin Markaz congregation in the national capital.

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