Tablighi Jamaat, Supreme Court
Tablighi Jamaat, Supreme Court
Litigation News

[Tablighi Jamaat] Supreme Court directs Patna HC to designate court to try cases filed against foreign nationals in Bihar

The Supreme Court has directed that multiple FIRs filed in Bihar be consolidated and transferred to one court.

Lydia Suzanne Thomas

While hearing the petitions filed by foreign nationals who attended the Tablighi Jamaat, the Supreme Court today directed that the multiple FIRs filed in Bihar be consolidated and transferred to one court in the state.

The Patna High Court has been tasked with deciding which court will try the cases against the foreign nationals. The High Court has been given a week's time to do so.

It was further directed that the trials be completed within eight weeks, in line with the order pertaining to consolidating and trying the FIRs filed in Delhi expeditiously.

The Uttar Pradesh government is expected to filed its reply to a similar intervention application pertaining to FIRs filed in the state.

The matter has been adjourned to September 3.

The Court was hearing a plea filed by 34 foreign nationals challenging the decision of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to blacklist over 3,000 of them from travelling to India for a period of 10 years.

The foreign nationals were facing trial for the alleged commission of offences under provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946, the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act, 2005, as well provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

In its affidavit, the Centre has argued that "participating in Tablighi Jamaat activities" was a serious violation provisions of the Visa Manual, 2019 and is also a criminal offence punishable under Sections 13 and 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

In August, the Bombay High Court quashed FIRs filed against 29 foreign nationals accused of violating visa rules for participating in the Tablighi Jamaat.

The Karnataka High Court also delivered a similar order in August, however, adding the rider that the FIRs would be quashed only if the foreign nationals undertook not to return to India for the following ten years.

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