Mumbai court acquits 20 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members, says prosecution had no evidence
The court said there was no iota of evidence with the prosecution to show any contravention of order by accused persons beyond all shadow of doubt.Updated: Oct 20, 2020, 11:51 IST
A magistrate’s court on Monday acquitted 20 foreigners including 10 Indonesians and 10 from Kyrgyzstan who were booked for not disclosing that they had attended a religious gathering of Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin in New Delhi.
The group of foreigners was booked by the DN Nagar police on April 5 in two separate cases for not following the advisory issued in the wake of Covid-19.
The Mumbai police had earlier issued an advisory and warning asking people who had attended the meet at Delhi to come forward, failing which a criminal case would be registered against them. The group failed to come forward but was traced in the first week of April following which a case was registered with the DN Nagar police station.
The group was booked for attempt to murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder. They were also booked under Epidemic Diseases Act, the National Disaster Act, Foreign Act and Bombay Police Act.
The sessions court had discharged the accused from the charges of attempt to murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Earlier this month the court further dropped other charges against the accused and they were put to trial only under section 135 of Bombay Police Act for defying the rules of national lockdown and order issued by the Commissioner of police.
The prosecution had examined only two witnesses, the complainant - a police sub-inspector from DN Nagar police and investigating officer from the police station.
The court after considering their evidence, observed, “The said witnesses were also not found in position to tell where and how the accused person were residing at the time of alleged offence. Thus there is no iota of evidence with prosecution to show any contravention of order by accused persons beyond all shadow of doubt. During the imposition of lockdown and their ultimate shelter in a mosque or nearby will not render them responsible for such contravention. There is no legal evidence adduced by prosecution to show that accused persons infringed the notification lawfully made under section 37 of Bombay Police Act.”
The magistrate’s court while acquitting all the accused observed that, “The prosecution witnesses have clarified that the accused have not violated the norms of lockdown and order of the Police Commissioner. Their versions are contrary to the documentary evidence on record. The prosecution has not even carried out preparation of Panchanama and never recorded the statement of any other independent witness. Thus, there is no legal evidence furnished by prosecution in support of charge.”
The court also noted that “The brief survey of prosecution evidence transpires that none of examined witnesses have an occasion to see the accused persons together in the form of assembly. Per contra the prosecution witnesses admitted that they have not seen accused persons contravening any directions or order issued by authority.”