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Monday, November 28, 2022

Tablighi Jamaat foreign nationals get reprieve from Delhi court, 60 Malaysians walk free after ₹7,000 fine

A Delhi Court has accepted the plea bargaining application of 60 Malaysian Tabligh Jamaat members who sought milder punishments in the Nizamuddin Markaz case, and allowed them to go scot-free after paying a pittance of Rs 7000 each, reports The Hindu.

Many legal observers are questioning the judgement which they say sets bad precedence as it allows serious offenders to walk free after paying a minor fine. In fact, it would not be wrong to call the fine ‘blood money’. It must be remembered that the reckless and illegal gathering at the Markaz and subsequent dispersal of Tablighi Jamaat members throughout the country led to a major spike in Wuhan Virus cases.

956 foreigners belonging to 36 different countries were booked in the Delhi Nizamuddin Markaz case where a congregation of 9000 Tablighi Jamaat members had assembled in March this year leading to the spread of the Wuhan virus in different parts of the country after the attendees dispersed and traveled all over Bharat. They were charge-sheeted for violating visa regulations, government guidelines, and indulging in illegal missionary activities,

The court had taken into consideration the 59 charge-sheets filed against the foreign nationals who were ordered to appear before the court by way of video conferencing on different dates.

The foreign nationals have been charged for violating visa rules, Wuhan virus pandemic related government guidelines and regulations with respect to Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act, and prohibitory orders issued under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code. In addition, they have also been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 270 (Malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 271 (Disobedience to quarantine rule) as well as the Foreigners Act.

The investigating officer informed the court that all 956 foreigners had been found individually guilty of the offense(s) for which they were charged and that further investigation of the case is ongoing.

Although the foreign nationals have not been arrested yet, the Centre has blacklisted them and canceled their visas. At present, they have been allowed to stay in accommodations approved by the Delhi High Court (HC) but they are eligible for imprisonments ranging from six months to eight years.

The 60 Jamaatis who walked free today were part of a group of 122 Malaysian nationals booked in the case who had already received bail on Tuesday, and their plea bargaining application came up today before Metropolitan Magistrate Siddharth Malik.

On Wednesday, foreign Tablighi Jamaat members belonging to 21 different nations, were granted bail by a Delhi court after furnishing a personal bond of Rs 10,000 each. The foreigners were granted relief by Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur after they appeared before the court via video conferencing. Their Advocate Ashima Mandla was set to file a plea bargaining application today.

The accused granted bail on Wednesday belonged to different nations such as Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Afghanistan, America, China, Egypt, Russia, Belgium, France, Philippines, Sudan, Fiji, Morocco and Tunisia among others.

Left-liberal activism by judges?

This move by the Delhi Court does not come as a surprise as courts in the national capital have precedence of showing leniency to accused in cases of national security. Delhi HC has shown a marked tendency for such judicial activism, for which it was recently pulled up by none other than the apex court of the country itself.

Setting aside the Delhi HC order in the Bhima Koregoan riots accused Gautam Navlakha’s case, the Supreme Court (SC) opined that the HC’s action of admitting an interim bail plea by the accused was “totally uncalled for” as the SC had clearly directed the accused to approach Bombay High Court or the NIA court for any relief. It also ordered expunging of critical observations made by the HC against the NIA (National Investigative Agency).

Overstepping its jurisdiction and making extraneous remarks are something in which Delhi courts can often be observed indulging in as can be seen from the statements made by Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau in mid-January during the bail hearing of Bhim Army Chief Chandrasekhar Azad in the Daryaganj/Jama Masjid anti-CAA protests case.

Some of the comments made by the judge were:

“Inside Parliament, things which should have been said were not said and that is why people are out on the streets. We have the full right to express our views but we cannot destroy our country. You are behaving as if Jama Masjid was Pakistan and even if it was Pakistan, you can go there and protest. Pakistan was a part of undivided India..

…do you think Delhi police is so backward that it has no tools to record anything? Show me anything or any law that prohibits such gathering… Where is the violence? Who says you cannot protest…have you read the Constitution? It is one’s Constitutional right to protest.”

It is pertinent to note that these comments were made after anti-CAA violence had rocked the capital and adjoining West UP region in the previous month of December. The court further observed that Azad, having a law degree, can also “protest inside the courts”. Then the judge went on to expound about Azad’s Ambedkarite philosophy-

“Azad is probably an Ambedkarite. Ambedkar was more closer to the Muslims, Sikhs, and basically the repressed class of the society… He was a rebel of his own kind. Probably Azad has a vague idea of what he wants to say but probably not able to put it across. If you take up an issue, you do your research. And that is missing,” the court said.

We wonder if Dr. Ambedkar really considered Muslims or Sikhs as ‘repressed classes’! Judge Kamini Lau would be well advised to read Ambedkar’s Thoughts on Pakistan written in 1940, and republished in 1945 as Pakistan or the Partition of India. 

With 60 of the 956 accused foreign Jamaatis walking free today by paying a negligible amount after committing serious visa fraud and endangering public health & safety, is it any wonder that law & order in Bharat is in the state it is in? If we don’t take ourselves seriously, why would others?

(Featured Image Source: News18)

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