Tablighi Jamaat: SC Asks Govt Why Foreign Tablighis Were Not Deported When Their Visas Were Cancelled
Syed Ali Ahmed | India Tomorrow
NEW DELHI, JUNE 29—The Supreme Court on Monday sought a reply from the Central government for not deporting foreign Tablighis to their respective countries if their visas had been cancelled.
The apex court has given two days time to the Central government to reply in the matter. The next date of hearing is scheduled on July 2.
The Supreme court issued the order to the Central government on a petition filed by 34 foreign Tablighis from 33 countries who were arrested from different parts of the country on grounds of violating visa rules as they were indulging in missionary activities while on tourist visas.
According to advocate Fuzzail Ayyubi, among those having filed the petition includes an 8 month pregnant woman from Thailand.
Senior advocate Chander Udai Singh, who represents the foreign Tablighi activists in the court-told a three-judge bench comprising justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheswari and Sanjiv Khanna that the Centre was served a copy of the petition by each of the petitioner as per directions of the apex court on June 26. But the office of Solicitor General replied that no such petition was received.
The apex court has now given two days time to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to reply in the matter. The court wants to know if the decision about cancellation of visas were taken separately in each case or it was a general order cancelling the visas of all foreign Tablighis.
As the court proceedings took place through video-conferencing, the bench asked SG Tushar Mehta as to why the foreign Tablighis were still in India when their visas had been cancelled.
“If visas of the foreign Tablighis have been cancelled, why are they still in India?”, the bench asked the SG. The bench also asked SG to submit to the court if the visa cancellation was a general order or individual orders were served to each of the petitioners.
However, the petitioner’s advocated informed the court that it was a general order issued for all foreign Tablighis stranded in the country and no individual order was issued in this connection.
Advocate Singh submitted that en mass cancellation of visas without giving the visa holders a chance to be heard amounted to violation of the principles of natural justice.
Singh told the court that the sudden decision of cancelling the visas resulted in registration of FIRs against them. Their passports were also confiscated by the authorities due to which foreigners were not able to go back to their countries.
There are a total of over 2500 foreign Tablighis currently stranded in different parts of the country and 960 of them are in Delhi itself.
Those in Delhi are being provided lodging and food etc by Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind.