Supreme Court on Monday, has sought the centre’s clarification on MHA’s orders to cancel the visas of all foreign nationals who had participated in the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz during the nationwide lockdown. The centre is asked to file its response by July 2.
A bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar and also comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked the status of whether the government has deported the foreign nationals whose visas are cancelled or not. â€œIf the visas of these foreigners are cancelled, why are they still in India? You deport them. If you havenâ€™t cancelled, we will throw out these petitions,” said AM Khanwilkar.
900 of the foreign nationals were blacklisted by the government who are restricted to visit India for next 10 years. Following these orders, many petitions were filed by the foreign nationals from 35 countries in which they had mentioned that the seizure of their passports without allowing them a hearing is an affront not only to their right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution but also to the rudimentary principles of natural justice.
“Unilateral blacklisting of 960 foreigners by the Home Ministry vide press release dated April 2, 2020, and the subsequent blacklisting of around 2500 foreigners as reported on June 4, 2020, is in violation of Article 21. Therefore, it is void and unconstitutional as the petitioners have neither been provided any hearing nor notice or intimation in this regard,” said the plea.
Senior advocate CU Singh appearing for the petitioners sought the top court’s directions to declare the Ministry of Home Affairs decision arbitrary, reinstate their visas, and facilitate their return to their respective countries.
CU Singh has also argued that the MHA orders were general instead of specific ones. On which, the apex court bench said that the home ministry notifications communicates that the decision would be taken by the state authorities on a case to case basis.
Besides that, Delhi High Court has also sought the reply of centre, Delhi government, and Delhi police on the pleas seeking the permission and allotment of 3 more accommodations for the Tablighi Jamaat members.
Thousands of Tablighi Jamaat members participated in a congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin Markaz in March while a nationwide lockdown was imposed in view of the spread of pandemic coronavirus. The place then became the major COVID-19 hotspot in the country.