Court drops visa violation charges against Tablighi foreigners, books 36 others only for negligence
A Delhi court on Monday framed charges against 36 foreigners, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz in south Delhi in March, for negligence and not maintaining social distancing norms.
It, however, dropped the charges of visa violations while observing that there is not an iota of evidence to suggest that they had in any manner professed or propagated the principles
and doctrines of the Tablighi Jamaat.
In separate orders, the court also discharged eight foreigners, who were charge-sheeted for visa violations and other offences for attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, while stating that the entire charge sheet and documents neither shows their presence or participation in the markaz during the relevant period.
This is the first group of people who will walk free to their countries without any charges. Earlier, 911 foreigners were allowed by the trial court to be deported to their native countries under the provisions of plea bargaining, while another 44 foreigners had chosen to stand trial. One Malaysian was found to be juvenile and his case was transferred to Juvenile Justice Board .
Two each from Indonesia and Thailand and one person each from Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Jordan were set free without standing trial.
The city police had filed 53 charge sheets against 956 other foreign nationals belonging to 35 countries for visa violation, not maintaining social distancing norms and other sections of the Epidemic Act and Disaster Management Act.
Chief metropolitan magistrate Gurmohina Kaur, while framing the charges, discharged the accused from the visa violation charges falling under the Foreigners Act. The judge said the statement of the police officers in which they had alleged that the Tablighi Jamaat people had professed and propagated the doctrines of Jamaat, are general ones and do not specifically allege the role of the accused.
“They ( police statements) are not putting forth the case of the prosecution as it has not been asserted that the foreigners who had participated in the markaz from March 8 to March 10 had done so for the purpose of professing and propagating the principles and doctrines of the Jamaat.
“In fact, there is not an iota of evidence to suggest that the accused had in any manner professed or propagating the doctrines of Jamaat or had indulged in Tablighi work as alleged,” the court said.
Kaur also said the charge sheet is silent on this fact and the register taken from markaz merely marks the presence of the Jamaatis.
The court, however, framed charges against them for negligence (269 IPC), disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant (188 IPC) and relevant sections of Epidemic Act and Disaster Management Act.