Delhi High Court has allowed the plea for release of foreign nationals related to Tablighi Jamaat event and shifting them to alternate accommodations.
The plea was allowed by the Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar after a No Objection Certificate was given by the Revenue Department of Delhi Government for the transfer of 955 foreign nationals to alternate accommodations.
This order has come in pursuance of a submission made by Senior Advocate Rebecca M John, who was appearing for the Petitioners, which said that the Petitioners confine the relief sought in the present petition to only pray that these foreign nationals may be moved to other better facilities, which have been identified by the community.
Ms John had further submitted that she would provide the particulars of the said facilities, and also place them on record, and that the facilities could be inspected by the Respondents. She said that the foreign nationals and the community will make all the arrangements for the said facilities at their own expense.
During the course of proceedings, both the Delhi Police and the Union of India verbally submitted that they also don't have any objection with the present plea being allowed.
In today's proceedings, 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 also directed that the present order shall be read together with that of the Magistrate, when in future these foreign nationals move the court for bail pursuant to the issuance of summons.
Therefore, the Magistrate in that future situation would be allowed to impose other conditions, but it will have to keep in mind the present order of this court.
In the last hearing, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police had informed the Delhi High Court that not a single foreign national related to the Tablighi Jamaat incident has been arrested so far or has been taken into custody by the Delhi Police.
Delhi Police had also informed the court that more than 900 foreign Tablighi Jamaat attendees, including the Petitioners, have joined investigation of the case and were served notices under section 41A of the CrPC.
The investigation itself, the status report had stated, is being conducted on a day to day basis and all efforts are being made to finalise the investigation and submit a report under section 173 CrPC.
As per the said report, the concerned foreign nationals have given an undertaking to the Delhi Police that they would not violate the conditions under section 41(a) CRPC and abide by the terms of the notice.
The status report further stated that:
'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, the Petitioner has asked the court to order the Delhi Government to order and facilitate immediate release of foreign nationals held in institutional quarantine in Delhi having tested negative for covid-19 as quarantine in perpetuity shall tantamount to illegal detention.
While highlighting that 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 being represented by Senior Advocate Rebecca M John, and Advocate Ashima Mandla