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What can be done to expedite trials against foreign Jamaat attendees, asks SC

by Editor

The Supreme Court on Monday asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta what can be done to expedite the trials against the foreign nationals, who attended the Markaz Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin in March this year.
A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar was hearing a batch of petitions challenging the blacklisting and cancellation of visas of foreign nationals who attended the congregation, which had reportedly become an epicentre for the spread of coronavirus in the country.
Mehta, senior law officer representing the Central government, submitted that 23 foreign nationals, out of the total 34 petitioners, have been let off on fine after they accepted mild charges under the plea bargaining process.
He added that nine foreign nationals, however, have opted to face trial here, which will take place in various courts, to which the bench asked the Mehta what can be done to complete the trials expeditiously of these persons?
Responding to the bench, Mehta said that he can speak to the investigation officer, seek instructions, and figure out how the trial may be expedited.
Senior lawyer CU Singh, appearing for several petitioners, requested the bench that the return of these 23 petitioners must be facilitated at the earliest.
The apex court, which had earlier stated that these foreign nationals could individually move concerned authorities, fixed the matter for further hearing to July 31.
The petitions, filed by the foreign nationals from 35 countries, have sought directions to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to remove their names from the blacklist, reinstate their visas and facilitate their return to their respective countries.
The petitions sought to declare the decision of the MHA of blacklisting the foreign nationals who attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation as “arbitrary”.
These foreign nationals were blacklisted for a period of 10 years from travelling to India for their alleged involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities.

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