The Supreme Court on Monday (2nd November 2020) asked the trial courts to expedite hearing in the pending cases against foreign Tablighi Jamaat members for alleged visa violations. Senior lawyer Maneka Guruswamy, appearing on behalf of some jamaat members, said the pleas seeking discharge of eight people are listed before trial courts on November 10.
A bench of justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and Sanjiv Khanna observed, it has become a punishment for them, even after discharge the revision applications are filed, and matters will not be heard. They are not being allowed to go back to their countries”.
The top court had earlier directed the Bihar government to move the Patna High Court to seek transfer of pending criminal cases against 13 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members for alleged visa violations before a trial court for quick disposal, preferably within eight weeks of their transfer.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had said that he did not have any objection and the trial can be consolidated as done in Delhi where a court at Saket is hearing all such cases. Prior, to this, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that lookout notices issued against some foreigners, who have challenged in the apex court the government’s orders blacklisting several citizens of 35 countries for alleged involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities, have been withdrawn.
Mehta said the petitioners who are before the apex court would be “free to leave” India subject to no other pending proceedings, including order passed by the court, requiring their presence. As per the information available, 205 FIRs have been lodged against Tablighi Jamaat members by 11 states and 2, 765 such foreigners have been blacklisted so far, the Centre had said in its affidavit.