NEW DELHI: A city court here has sought the reply of 36 foreigners on a plea filed by the Delhi police challenging the order of the magistrate's court by which they were discharged for the offences of attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation here by allegedly violating visa norms, malignantly spreading infection of disease dangerous to life and disobeying quarantine rules.
Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav issued notice to the foreign nationals and directed them to file their replies on the revision petition by October 23.
The plea has sought framing of charges against the foreigners under section 14 (1) (b) (violation of visa norms) of Foreigners Act, sections 270 (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 271 (Disobedience to quarantine rule) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The police has also filed a revision petition against the order of the magistrate court by which eight foreign nationals from six countries were discharged of all charges under which they were charge sheeted in the absence of any record or any credible material against them.
The court had earlier dismissed applications of the foreigners challenging the order by which charges were framed against them for various offences.
The magistrate court had on August 24 framed charges against 36 foreigners under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3 (disobeying regulation) of Epidemic Act, 1897.
The charges were also framed under section 51 (obstruction) Disaster Management Act, 2005.
However, they were discharged for the offences under section 14 (1) (b) (violation of visa norms) of Foreigners Act, sections 270 (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 271 (Disobedience to quarantine rule) of IPC.
The punishment for the offences for which they have been charged ranges from six months to eight years of imprisonment.
The court had said there was no iota of evidence to suggest that the present accused had in any manner professed or propagated the principles and doctrines of the Tablighi Jamaat or had indulged in Tablighi work as alleged and discharged eight foreigners of all charges.
The foreigners were charge sheeted for attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation here in March, allegedly in violation of visa norms, indulging in missionary activities illegally and violating government guidelines issued in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak.
Special Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava, appearing for the state, had earlier said that the foreign nationals had arrived in India on the strength of tourist visa and were allegedly involved in Tablighi work which was not permitted under Visa rules unless they were granted special permission by the concerned authorities.
Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for the foreigners, argued the charge sheet was silent as to the role of any of the accused persons and also does not provide any specific act done by them to invoke provisions of any of the sections alleged against them.
Advocates Ashima Mandla, Mandakini Singh, also appearing the accused, had said as per the visa guidelines available on the Ministry of Home Affairs website, the accused were not barred from visiting and attending any religious place including the Tablighi jamaat.