New Delhi: Supreme Court while hearing a plea by foreign members of Tablighi Jamaat on Thursday pronounced that if procedures in criminal cases against any individual is pending, then there’s no question of deportation. ALSO READ | Coronavirus: Overall Covid-19 Cases In India Soar Past 6 Lakh-Mark; Recovery Rate Nears 60%
34 foreign Jamaatis had filed a plea requesting the top court that they should be allowed to return to their countries. The foreign individuals said that they had arrived in India before the lockdown was enforced and had not exactly harmed national security by taking part in a Tablighi Jamaat gathering in national capital in March.
“Blacklisting would mean we should not be allowed to return to India but we can be deported. Deportation is the normal action taken by any government for visa violations,” the petitioners further said.
The plea was filed against an order by Ministry of Home Affairs for blacklisting more than 2,500 foreign nationals for their alleged involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities.
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According to a report by Bar & Bench, the central government in its affidavit argued that “participating in Tablighi Jamaat activities” was a serious violation provisions of the Visa Manual, 2019 and is also a criminal offence punishable under Sections 13 and 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946.
Responding to this, the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna said that it will not interfere in Centre’s action in a criminal case.
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However, the court ordered that all the petitioners will be permitted to make representations before concerned authorities. It noted that since the Centre has passed individual orders, the petitioners may challenge the same before concerned High Courts.
The court has now adjourned the case and will hear it again July 10, by which the date the petitioners are required to file a rejoinder to the affidavit submitted by the Centre and also make representations before the competent authorities as regards deportation.