Mewat court gives relief to Muslim foreigners, asks authorities to send them back safely
Tablighi missionaries case: Offences under sections 269 and 270 of the IPC were added merely on the basis of apprehensions and imaginations of the investigating officer, says courtUpdated: Jul 09, 2020 23:16 IST
Giving relief to 57 Muslim foreigners booked by Haryana Police for alleged malignant acts likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life during Covid lockdown and violations of the Foreigners Act, a sessions court in Mewat has upheld the decision of the trial court to strike down the charges slapped on the foreign nationals.
The Muslim foreign nationals were residents of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
The court of additional sessions judge, Mewat, Prashant Rana in its July 6 order said none of the accused knew that they had coronavirus infection.
“Their testing was conducted after the registration of the first information report (FIR). Even the investigating officer came to know about the infection of nine accused two days after the registration of FIR. Offences under sections 269 and 270 of the IPC were added merely on the basis of apprehensions and imaginations of the investigating officer,” the court said, puncturing the police theory.
The judge held that all foreigners had valid passports and tourist visas. “There is no documentary evidence with the prosecution or any witness, who would say that the accused persons were holding Tablighi jamaat in any village. It does not amount to violation of any condition of their tourist visa. The accused had permission to visit India, travel across the country and stay here, in a legal manner, which they did. Hence, no offence under sections 14(B) and 14(C) of the Foreigners Act was made out,” reads the order.
The court also asked the authorities to ensure safe return of the foreigners to their countries.
The police had on April 2 booked 57 Muslim foreign nationals under sections 269, 270, 188, 120-B of the IPC and sections 14(b), 14(c) of the Foreigners Act.
The prosecution said these foreigners were propagating religious teachings in a ‘Tablighi Jamaat’ without visa permission. The prosecution said the foreigners could not produce permission for religious teaching and their passports were seized.
Nine of them were found to be coronavirus positive following their medico-legal examination. The accused though were not arrested being foreigners and from a particular religion, the prosecution said.
Trial court struck down all charges except one
The trial court, however, chargesheeted the accused for commission of offence under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the IPC and struck down the sections pertaining to negligent and malignant acts likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life and violations of the Foreigners Act.
The court on May 22 sentenced the accused to pay a fine of Rs 1,000 each for commission of offence under section 188 and directed the state to send them back to their respective countries.
Aggrieved by the trial court’s orders of framing of charge under section 188, the Haryana government had filed a revision plea before the Mewat additional sessions judge, which was dismissed.
Box: Additional sessions judge’s ruling
Foreign nationals have not done any act detrimental to the society or security of the nation
They are peace-loving tourists, visiting different parts including the masjids, which cannot be termed as violation of any statute
They were guests of the nation, who were granted permission to visit and travel by the embassy concerned and the ministry