BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court has quashed criminal proceedings against nine foreign members of Tablighi Jamaat, but declined to quash similar proceedings against seven of their Indian counterparts, in cases registered against them by the Tumakuru police.
They were booked for participating in a religious congregation, and in case of foreigners, on e-tourist Visas and spreading Covid-19. In an order passed on Wednesday, Justice Krishna S Dixit directed the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to issue exit permits to the foreign Tablighi members if they are not required for any other case, and after they pay the fine and give an undertaking that they will not visit India within the next 10 years.
The foreigners include four from South Africa, three from Gambia and one each from Indonesia and the USA. Judge Dixit made it clear that quashing the proceedings against the accused foreigners should not be construed as extending their Visas, or as dilution of the case against other petitioners who are accused for offences punishable under the Foreigners Act, 1946, IPC, Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act and other enactments.
The judge also observed that e-tourist Visas are granted only for specific purposes, and not for missionary activities such as propagation of religion and participating in religious congregations. Dismissing the petitions of seven Indians for being devoid of merits, the judge ordered the jurisdictional police to file charge-sheet within six months.