Seven foreign nationals, members of the Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat, among them 7 foreign nationals have filed a petition in the supreme court, As jamaat which emerged as a major coronavirus hotspot in Delhi in March, the petitioners have sought removal of their names from the list of 2,500 foreign nationals who have been barred from entering India for the next 10 years for attending the congregation.
The Tablighi Jamaat congregation took place mid-March in east Delhi’s Nizamuddin, at a time restriction were coming in effect in the capital to contain the spread of coronavirus. At one point, nearly 30% of the country’s total coronavirus cases were linked to the Jamaat gathering.
The petition has been filed through advocates Fuzail Ahmed Ayyubi and Ashima Mandala, and the petitioners have also urged the apex court to declare the MHA’s order as ‘arbitrary’.
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Unilateral blacklisting of 960 foreigners by the Home Ministry earlier dated April 2, 2020, and the subsequent blacklisting of around 2,500 foreigners as reported on June 4, 2020, is in violation of Article 21. Therefore, it is void and unconstitutional as the petitioners have neither been provided any hearing nor notice or intimation in this regard,” the petition states.
The petitioners, two are from Thailand and one from Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, and Malaysia.
The impugned decision, by its very unilateral nature, infringes the principle of natural justice, particularly ‘Audi alteram partem’ by blacklisting the said foreigners present in India without first granting an opportunity of being heard or notice of any form, and resultantly depriving the aggrieved foreign nationals of their right of locomotion and traveling back to the country of their citizenship,” the plea filed by the Thai woman said
Also, the en masse blacklisting of over 3,500 foreigners from 35 nations, who are currently in India without affording any opportunity to prima facie defend themselves, is an egregious and blatant violation of Article 21 of the Constitution said the petitioners.
In words, the impugned decision of MHA has arbitrarily first forfeited the personal liberty of more than 960 foreign nationals, belonging to 35 countries, presently in India, having entered on valid tourist visas, by merely alleging their involvement in ‘Tablighi Jamaat Activities’ despite the guidelines of the Respondent No.1 (MHA (the Ministry of Home Affairs)) placing no bar on attending religious congregations or visiting religious places,” it said.