Seven foreigners who attended a Tablighi Jamaat congregation in New Delhi in March have moved the Supreme Court, challenging the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs to blacklist them, NDTV reported on Sunday. The foreigners include two citizens of Thailand, and one each from Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia and Malaysia.
The Tablighi Jamaat is a Sunni Muslim sect with followers in over 80 countries.
The petition asked the Supreme Court to remove them from the government’s blacklist, which prohibits them from entering the country for 10 years. The Tablighi Jamaat congregation has been accused of being responsible for causing thousands of coronavirus infections in the country. Hundreds of foreigners had attended the event.
“Unilateral blacklisting of 960 foreigners by the Home Ministry vide press release dated April 2, 2020, and the subsequent blacklisting of around 2,500 foreigners as reported on June 4, 2020, is in violation of Article 21 [of the Indian Constitution],” the plea read. “Therefore, it is void and unconstitutional as the petitioners have neither been provided any hearing nor notice or intimation in this regard.” Article 21 of the Constitution says that no person may be deprived of life and personal liberty except as per the procedure established by law.
Last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs blacklisted over 2,500 Tablighi members and prohibited their entry into the country for 10 years. The action was taken after several state governments submitted information on those who had been accused of illegally living in mosques and seminaries.
Earlier in June, the government told the Supreme Court that there is no need for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the Tablighi Jamaat event. In an affidavit, the government said that the investigation into the Nizamuddin case is being conducted on a daily basis in accordance with the law.