12 Nov 2021 4:47 PM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Friday questioned the Delhi Police in the pleas filed by Indian nationals seeking quashing of the FIRs registered against them for sheltering the attendees of Tablighi Jamaat congregation in their homes or mosques amid the covid 19 lockdown last year.Justice Mukta Gupta quizzed the Police as to where would the people have gone when a lockdown was suddenly imposed in...
The Delhi High Court on Friday questioned the Delhi Police in the pleas filed by Indian nationals seeking quashing of the FIRs registered against them for sheltering the attendees of Tablighi Jamaat congregation in their homes or mosques amid the covid 19 lockdown last year.
Justice Mukta Gupta quizzed the Police as to where would the people have gone when a lockdown was suddenly imposed in the city.
"What is the offence committed? Is there any bar on residents of Madhya Pradesh to come and stay in Delhi or stay in any temple, masjid, gurdwara," the Court said.
"When there was no means available, then what is the offence? What is the violation? Or was there any notification that everybody will throw out whosoever is staying somewhere?," she asked.
While a short status report was filed by the Delhi Police, time was sought for filing a detailed report as the Court was apprised that the Investigating Officer was recently changed.
The Court the granted one more opportunity to the Police for filing the detailed status report in the matter while listing the case for further hearing on December 6.
Advocate Ashima Mandla representing the petitioners submitted before the Court that while the police have relied on two prohibitory orders dated March 24 and March 30, 2020 in the chargesheet, they had referred to an order dated March 11 in the short status report.
According to Mandla, it was submitted that a perusal of the prohibitory orders would show that the same bars a religious congregation. However, it was submitted that in the FIRs in question, the simple allegation is that the petitioners were merely residing.
"At no point in FIR, they say that a religious congregation is being held despite lockdown," she argued.
She also highlighted the peculiarity of three FIRs amongst those in question to argue that they were registered against private persons who had given refuge to the attendees in their homes.
About the Petitions
Some of the petitioners stated that FIR No. 74/2020 registered against two of them under Sections 188, 269, 270, 120-B of the Indian Penal Code,1860, was wholly unwarranted, concocted and untenable in law, and further that they have been compelled to face unwarranted and unsubstantiated charges, infringing upon their personal liberty.
They also alleged that the FIR was lodged against them only on the basis of their alleged presence at Choti Masjid, Fatak Teliyan during the nation-wide lockdown imposed in light of Covid-19, and further stated that there was "no shred of evidence" to initiate such a case against them.
The petitioners also claimed that a bare perusal of the FIR would indicate that the only allegations against them was their alleged presence inside the Masjid along-with foreign nationals, however, there was no whisper of either any religious/social gathering being held inside the Masjid or of the petitioners being Covid-19 positive.
Other FIRs in question were FIR Nos. 89, 86, 82, 84 , 85, 76, 75, 80 and 79 registered at Chandni Mahal police station.
Title: MOHD ANWAR & ORS. v. STATE NCT OF DELHI