Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court
Litigation News

[Tablighi Jamaat] Delhi HC seeks response from Centre, Delhi Govt in plea to expedite trial against 121 Malaysians

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court today sought response from Delhi Government and Delhi Police in a petition seeking directions to expedite trial against 121 Malaysians in the Tablighi Jamaat case.

A single Judge Bench of Justice Anup J Bhambhani also impleaded Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India as parties to the petition and sought their response.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 amongst the participants of the Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz, Delhi Police had registered FIR against the attendees, organizers and members of the Jamaat.

Subsequently, charge sheets were filed against them, including 121 Malaysians, for the commission of offences under the Indian Penal Code, Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act, Foreigners Act and violating prohibitory orders to contain the spread of COVID-19.

It is the Petitioner's concern that since the normal functioning of trial courts in Delhi has been suspended and the present matter would not be considered as an "urgent matter", the adjudication upon the chargesheet would be delayed.

The Petitioner informed the court that after being released from quarantine centres last month, the Malaysian nationals are presently in the care and custody of the High Commission of Malaysia and have been living in a hotel in the city.

This arrangement, however, is causing tremendous financial pressure on the High Commission, it is stated.

The Petitioner also submitted that most of the Malaysians in question are the bread earners for their families but are now estranged from their kith and kin in a foreign land.

Contending that even Malaysian nationals are entitled to a speedy trial under Article 21 of the Constitution, the Petitioner has invoked Section 407 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for appropriate directions in the interest of justice.

In a bid to expedite the trial, the Petitioner has prayed for directions to constitute a designated court to try and adjudicate upon the charge sheets against the Malaysian nationals and classify the case as "urgent" for the purpose of consideration on account of the COVID-19.

Permission is also sought to appear before the trial court through video conferencing mode.

The petition was filed through Advocate S Hariharan.

The matter would be heard next on July 1.

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