SC asks Centre if individual orders cancelling visas were served to foreign attendees of Tablighi Jamaat meet; matter posted for 2 July

Thirty-four foreigners from 15 countries, who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat meet in March, approached the Supreme Court claiming they were not issued individual orders regarding blacklisting and FIRs

FP Staff June 30, 2020 01:40:49 IST
SC asks Centre if individual orders cancelling visas were served to foreign attendees of Tablighi Jamaat meet; matter posted for 2 July

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre if individual orders have been issued for the cancellation of visas of over 2,500 foreign nationals who attended the Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi.

A three-judge Bench, headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, made the remark while adjourning the hearing of a plea challenging the Centre’s order to blacklist these foreigners for 10 years for violating visa conditions, Live Law reported.

Thirty-four foreigners from 15 countries, who had attended the Nizamuddin Markaz meet in March, had approached the Supreme Court claiming they were not issued individual orders regarding blacklisting and FIRs.

Even as the petitioners’ counsel Singh contended that the blacklisting of individuals was announced through a press release, the Bench asked the Centre to furnish the order mandating the blacklisting of individuals.

The judges also asked why the foreign national have not been deported yet.

FIRs have been filed against the foreign nationals and their passports have been impounded, Singh told the Bench, further urging them to consider the case on humanitarian grounds.

“If there is visa violation, you must send them back to their country. Their home countries are asking for them to be sent back, embassies are also enquiring about this," Singh said, according to Bar and Bench.

The petitioners have sought a reversal of orders blacklisting the foreign nationals. Reinstatement of their visas and facilitating their return to home countries has also been demanded.

"The impugned decision, by its very unilateral nature, infringes the principle of natural justice, particularly audi alteram partem by blacklisting the said foreigners present in India without first granting an opportunity of being heard or notice of any form, and resultantly depriving the aggrieved foreign nationals of their right of locomotion and travelling back to the country of their citizenship,” said the plea filed by a Thai woman, who is seven months pregnant.

The woman also claimed in the petition that she was released from quarantine in late May but is still at a facility under restricted movements, without the avenue to go back to her nation and experience the birth of her child with security and dignity, with her loved ones.

The matter was further posted for hearing on 2 July, after the conflicting claims by the Centre and petitioners about serving of the plea’s copy. While Singh claimed the petition’s copy was provided to the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta denied being served the plea.

On 2 April, the home ministry had blacklisted 960 foreigners of 35 countries for participating in the Tablighi Jamaat meet. Further, 2,500 foreigners in India were blacklisted for the same reason on 4 April. A general direction was issued to states and Union Territories to file FIRs against these individuals.

In the petition, the foreigners also said that the orders were passed without hearing them, which is restrictive of their rights under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

With inputs from PTI

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