The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to clarify whether over 2,500 foreign nationals, who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi in March, were issued individual orders about the cancellation of their visas, Live Law reported. The gathering had emerged as a coronavirus hotspot following the event.
The top court asked the Centre for the details while hearing a batch of petitions filed by the foreign nationals against their blacklisting. The petitioners’ lawyer claimed that the Centre had only issued a general blacklisting notice to 900 foreign nationals and not individual ones.
The three-judge bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar, then, asked the Centre why the foreign nationals were still in India if their visas had been cancelled and blacklisting orders issued. “You deport them,” the bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. “Also tell us if there was a general direction or individual orders sent to each one of them informing about blacklisting and cancellation of visas.”
During the hearing, the top court also pointed out that the home ministry had said that the state had to decide on blacklisting the foreign nationals on a case-to-case basis.
The court adjourned the petition of the foreign nationals till July 2 and asked the Centre to provide the required information by that date.
The petitioners in the case had asked the Supreme Court to remove them from the government’s blacklist, which prohibits them from entering the country for 10 years. They alleged that the Centre’s decision to blacklist them and cancel their visas was arbitrary and unconstitutional.
Last month, the Ministry of Home Affairs blacklisted over 2,500 Tablighi members. The action was taken after several state governments submitted information about people who had been accused of illegally living in mosques and seminaries. Earlier in June, the Centre told the Supreme Court that there was no need for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the Tablighi Jamaat event since it was carrying out the investigation thoroughly.