NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Wednesday dismissed the pleas filed by 35 foreigners challenging the framing of charges against them for attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation here by allegedly being negligent and disobeying the government’s Covid-19 guidelines.
Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav said sufficient material was placed by police before the court to frame charges under the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act and sections 188 and 269 of IPC.
“The court found no infirmity, illegality or irregularity in the impugned order. The revision petition is devoid of merit and the same is accordingly dismissed,” said the similarly worded, but separate orders in the 35 pleas.
The magistrate court had on August 24 framed charges against 36 foreigners in all 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. Charges were also framed under section 51 (obstruction) Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The court said that as per the charge sheet, a District Surveillance Team was sent to masjid to assess the ground situation and they had briefed the markaz organisers regarding social distancing and use of sanitizer and masks, etc.
“However, no precautionary directions were followed by markaz,” the court said.
“While deciding the question of charge, the court cannot embark upon a detailed inquiry into the evidence collected during investigation. What is required to be seen at the stage of charge is as to whether there is prima facie case to frame charge or not. Strong suspicion about involvement of accused in the crime is sufficient to frame charge,” it said.