The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that foreigners, who are facing charges for attending the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi in March, may leave India after submitting an apology, Live Law reported.
The court was hearing petitions filed by 34 foreign visitors, challenging the government’s orders to blacklist them for attending the event.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the top court’s bench, comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, that pending criminal cases against the Tablighi Jamaat members will not stop them from returning to their home countries, but such an order must be passed by a trial court.
“Solicitor General has, in all fairness, submitted that if the concerned petitioners tender an apology in the concerned criminal case, they can be permitted to leave India despite the pendency of the criminal case but subject to such orders that may be passed by the concerned trial court,” the top court said in its order.
Mehta also told the top court that 10 out of the 34 petitioners had made the choice to challenge the criminal charges against them instead of opting for a plea deal. He added that the lookout notices against the petitioners had been withdrawn.
The top court also ordered that the cases against the foreigners, pending in different trial courts, be transferred to the Saket District Court and disposed of within eight weeks.
In July, a court in Delhi had granted bail to 82 Bangladeshis who attended the event. Sixty-two Malaysians and 11 Saudi Arabians were also released after payment of fines by another local court.
The Centre had in June 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.
The Tablighi Jamaat congregation was blamed for thousands of coronavirus infections around the country in the initial weeks of the nationwide lockdown which began on March 25. The congregation was attended by many foreigners. The Tablighi Jamaat is a Sunni Muslim sect with followers in over 80 countries.