12 Indonesian nationals, accused of not disclosing that they had participated in the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi in March, were discharged bythe Court of Metropolitan Magistrate of Mumbai on Wednesday(29th September 2020). The Nizamuddin event in the national capital was later discovered to be a coronavirus hotspot, and its participants were rounded up by the police in different states.
The plea of discharge was filed by the lawyer Ishrat Khan before the metropolitan magistrate's court, arguing that "the present applicants were requested to be accused only on the ground that they are foreigners and were present during the lockdown notice due to the outbreak of Covid-19."
Under IPC sections 188(Disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant),269 (Negligent act likely to spread life-threatening disease infection), and the Infectious Diseases Act, the police had booked them for failing to notify local authorities about their arrival. According to the police, on February 29 and March 3, the Indonesians arrived in India in two batches, heading for the congregation in Delhi after which they came to Mumbai and stayed in a flat in suburban Bandra and roamed around.
The Court also found that the Police seized the Visa of all the accused by preparing the panchnama; the panchnama revealed that at the time of registration of offence, the VISAs of all accused were valid and they came to India on Tourist Visa.
While perusing the Charge sheet filed by the Investigation Officer, the Court took into account the fact that firstly, the offense was registered against the accused under Section 307 and 304 (2) of IPC and thereafter, section 307 and 304 (2) of IPC was deleted by the I.O.
At the time of the deletion of the said sections of IPC, the IO stated that the accused were not liable for spreading the COVID-19 in public at large, and hence, they deleted Section 307 and 304 (2) of IPC.
The bench then stated, “After going through the Judgment of Bombay High Court and the facts and circumstances of the case, it does not reveal that the accused had deliberately disobeyed the order duly promulgated by the Public Servant as well as negligently, they were acting in the manner as was likely to spread the infection of the disease dangerous to life.”