The Union government asked by the Supreme Court to make clear the banning of Tablighi Jamaat if it was done as a whole or considered the cases of every individual.
“What we have here on record is a press note. It does not say notices were issued, orders were passed and action was taken on a case-to-case basis. We do not see any individual orders here. Please take instructions on the stand of the Union of India”, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar addressed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
The Supreme Court asked the Government to respond on July 2.
Petitions challenged the Centre’s decision of blacklisting 960 foreigners, wrote The Wire. Four writ petitions also challenged Centre’s decision of blacklisting 2,500 foreign nationals from travelling to India.
“No order has been passed, no notice has been issued. No individual order was given to any single person in any individual case”, senior advocate C.U. Singh, appearing for one of the petitioners, submitted.
“There should be an order first, then only action will follow”, Justice Khanwilkar turned to address the Solicitor General.
“In barely 50 words, the impugned decision as reflected in the press release dated April 2, 2020 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”, the petitioners said.
The court asked the centre to provide an explanation for the nationals staying in the country when their visas were cancelled.
It further said that the petitions would be thrown out if visas are not cancelled.
The petitions, filed through advocate Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi and drafted by advocates Ibad Mushtaq and Ashima Mandla, contended that the en masse blacklisting of over 3,500 foreigners from 35 nations, who were currently in India without affording any opportunity to prima facie defend themselves, was an egregious and blatant violation of Article 21 of the Constitution, mentioned The Wire.
The petition said that the immediate blacklisting of foreigners led to to the loss of their passports. This forfeiture of their passports by State authorities resulted in complete deprivation of their personal liberty sans procedure established by law, wrote The Wire.