Delhi High Court has allowed the plea for release of foreign nationals who were a part of Tablighi Jamaat from quarantine facilities and has permitted to shift them to alternate accommodations.
The order was passed by Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar after a No Objection Certificate was issued by the Revenue Department of Delhi Government for the transfer of 955 foreign nationals to alternate accommodations.
This came in after submission made in Tablighi jamaat case by Senior Advocate Rebecca M John, who was appearing for the Petitioners, which said that the Petitioners confine the relief sought to only pray that these foreign nationals may be moved tobetter facilities, which have been identified by the community.
Ms John had further submitted in the Tablighi jamaat event that particulars of the facilities would be providedwhile placing them on record, and that the facilities could be inspected by the Respondents. She added that the all the arrangements for the said facilities at their own expense.
Further, both the Delhi Police and the Union of India submitted that they don’t have any objection with the present plea being allowed.
Delhi Police also informed the court that as of now, 47 charge sheets have been filed against the aforesaid foreign nationals.
While passing the order, the court directed that the present order shall be read together with that of the Magistrate, when in future these foreigners move the court for bail pursuant to the issuance of summons.
Therefore, the Magistrate in that situation would be allowed to impose other conditionskeeping in mind the present order of this court.
In the last hearing, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police had informed the High Court that not a single foreign national of Tablighi jamaat has been arrested or taken into custody by the Delhi Police.
Delhi Police also informed the court that more than 900 foreign Tablighi Jamaat attendees, including the Petitioners, have joined investigation of the case and had been served notices under section 41A of the CrPC.
The investigation is being conducted on a day to day basis as per the status report and all efforts are being made to finalise the investigation of Tablighi jamaat event and submit a report under section 173 CrPC.
As per the said report, the concerned foreign nationals have also given an undertaking to the state police that they would not violate the conditions under section 41(a) CRPC and abide by the terms of the notice.
The status report of Tablighi jamaat event further stated
In order to substantiate the legitimacy of their visit to India, passports of 723 accused foreigners and Identity Cards of 23 accused Nepal Nationals have been taken into possession through seizure/handing over memos. Some of the accused foreign nationals were unable to provide / produce their passports. Efforts are being made to account for all the passports in this regard.’
In the present PIL of Tablighi jamaat , the Petitioner had prayed before the court to order the Delhi Government to facilitate immediate release of foreign nationals held in institutional quarantine in Delhi having tested negative for covid-19 as the same amounted to illegal detention.
Highlighting the FIRs for the Markaz event has been registered against the unknown persons, the petition states:
‘The Impugned Order mentioning 567 foreign nationals fails to clarify if the aforementioned persons have previously been blacklisted and booked by the Police officials.Furthermore, it is unclear It is to be regarded that the power to grant police custody (Section 167) as well as the power to arraign a person(Section 319), suspected of a crime for the purposes of investigation vests with the Judiciary under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Resultantly, the contents of
Paragraph 5 and the consequential implication is contrary to the law of the land and thus cannot be upheld.’
The Petitioners are represented by Senior Advocate Rebecca M John, and Advocate Ashima Mandla