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Bombay HC grants bail to residents of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan alleged to be part of Tablighi activities

A view of Bombay High Court in Mumbai. File

A view of Bombay High Court in Mumbai. File   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court granted bail to nine residents of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan alleged to have engaged in ‘Tabilighi activities’ in Delhi on a surety of ₹20,000.

A single bench of Justice Manish Pitale through video conferencing heard the bail pleas of nine accused arrested on April 29, charged with Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code and various sections of the Foreigners Act and the Epidemic Diseases Act, in the Gadchiroli Police Station.

Also read: Coronavirus | Recovered Tablighis donate plasma

They were arrested for allegedly violating their visa conditions by arriving in Gadchiroli and indulging in ‘Tablighi activities’. The prosecution alleged that they had also violated conditions of the lockdown, resulting in registration of an FIR.

The Sessions court dismissed their bail pleas on May 11 as they had allegedly attended a religious programme at a Masjid at Delhi, besides violating conditions of their visa and the lockdown.

The advocates for the applicants argued they arrived in Gadchiroli on March 11 and immediately intimated the authorities regarding their arrival.

Due to the lockdown they were in Gadchiroli and there was nothing to show that either they had attended the religious congregation at a Masjid in Delhi or anything to show that they had indulged in so called Tablighi activities at Gadchiroli. They added they were peacefully residing at Gadchiroli and that they have not violated any Visa conditions. They also said that the passports of the applicants were with the investigating agencies and that they were cooperating with the investigation.

Also read: Tablighi activity a specific visa violation, says Ministry of Home Affairs

Government counsel opposed the pleas and said chargesheet was likely to be filed in the near future and that the investigation was yet to be completed. It was further submitted that communications had been addressed to the embasies of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan asking for back-ground of the applicants and that since the information was awaited and the investigation was yet to be concluded, including details of the CDR (call detail record) and SDR (special drawing rights) reports of certain mobile phones used by the applicants, the present application deserved to be dismissed.

The court noted, “Although there is an allegation that the applicants had violated the conditions on which the visa was issued to them, primarily by engaging in Tablighi activities, whether such conditions were violated or not would be a matter for trial. At present, it appears that the applicants were picked-up from Gadchiroli on the aforesaid allegations and thereafter they were kept in quarantine and presently they are continuing in custody.”

Also read: Explained | Who are the Tablighi Jamaat?

The court went to to say, “Appropriate conditions can certainly be imposed upon the applicants while releasing them on bail so as to ensure their presence during the pendency of the trial. In fact, in the application itself, it has been stated on behalf of the applicants that they would undertake to stay at the premises of the Darool Uloom Shahi Urdu Arabic School, Kosara, Padoli, Chandrapur, and that they would report to the police station regularly.”

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:03:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bombay-hc-grants-bail-to-residents-of-kyrgyzstan-and-kazakhstan-alleged-to-be-part-of-tablighi-activities/article31816647.ece

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