MUMBAI: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court struck down offences registered against eight foreign members of Tablighi Jamaat, saying that there is no material evidence to prove that they indulged in activities to spread Covid-19.
Quashing the charge sheet filed against eight Myanmar nationals, the bench of Justices VM Deshpande and Amit B Borkar observed that “allowing the prosecution to continue would be nothing but an abuse of the process of the Court, especially because of lack of evidence supporting the charges levelled against the foreigners.” “It is also not disputed that they were kept in isolation from March 23, 2020, till March 31, 2020, under the supervision of Dr Khawaj, NMC Zonal Officer, Mominpura, Nagpur.
There is no material on record to prove that applicants had indulged in any act which was likely to spread infection of COVID-19,” the court order reads. The HC also stated the fact that these Tablighi Jamaatis do not even know Hindi and therefore, there could be no question of them of engaging any religious discourse or speech.
The Myanmarese nationals had landed in India on March 2, and stayed in Delhi till March 5. The group had provided their documents to police for registration in Nagpur. It was submitted that during the quarantine period, the applicants had undergone a medical test for Covid-19 and they were found to be negative. Therefore, there was no question of spreading infection as contemplated in Sections 269 and 270 of the IPC. The HC observed that no prosecution could have been launched against the applicants under Section 188 of the IPC based on a written report submitted by the police.