On Tuesday, the Supreme Court has directed the Patna High Court to consolidate and transfer the multiple FIRs filed in Bihar in relation to Tablighi Jamaat, to one court in the state.
The petitions filed by 34 foreign nationals who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat challenged the decision of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to blacklist over 3,000 of them from traveling to India for a period of 10 years. These foreign nationals were facing trial for the alleged commission of offenses under provisions of the Foreigners Act 1946, the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act 2005, as well as provisions of the Indian Penal Code.
Meanwhile, the Centre argued that ‘participating in Tablighi Jamaat activities’ was a serious violation provision of the Visa Manual 2019 and is also a criminal offense punishable under Sections 13 and 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946.
Subsequently, the apex court gave the Patna High Court, one-week time to do the same all the while directing that the trials be completed within eight weeks, in line with the order pertaining to consolidating and trying the FIRs filed in Delhi expeditiously.
The matter has been adjourned to September 3.
Earlier in August, the Bombay High Court and the Karnataka High Court had quashed FIRs filed against foreign nationals who were accused of violating visa rules while participating in the Tablighi Jamaat, wherein the Karnataka High Court directed that the foreign nationals should undertake not to return to India for the following ten years.