Tablighi Jamaat congregation: Visa cancellation, blacklisting orders passed on case-to-case basis, Centre tells SC


Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 2

Separate orders were passed on a case-to-case basis for cancellation of visas and blacklisting of 2,765 foreign nationals for their alleged involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities here, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asserted that grant of visa was not an enforceable right, let alone a fundamental right, and the blacklisted foreigners were being prosecuted under Foreigners Act.

“Grant of visa is a sovereign function of the State across the world and if they have committed an offence, these foreigners have to be tried. No foreign Tablighi Jamaat member has been deported as criminal proceedings are pending against them,” Mehta told a Bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar.

Mehta’s assertions came after senior advocate CU Singh said on behalf of petitioner foreign nationals from 35 countries that if there was any violation of visa norms, they can be deported to their parent country.

Around 1,500 one-liner emails were sent to them regarding visa cancellations and no show cause notices were issued to them for blacklisting from travel to India for 10 years, the petitioners’ counsel submitted.

Posting the matter for hearing on July 10, the top court asked the petitioners to file their responses to the government’s affidavit.

The banned foreign nationals can challenge individual orders before high courts and were free to make representations to the Centre, it said.

In an affidavit filed in response to petitions challenging cancellation of visas of foreigners and their blacklisting, the Centre said 2,679 visas were cancelled, 2,765 foreign nationals were blacklisted and 205 FIRs lodged against them in 11 states.

It said 1,905 look out notices were issued against those absconding and nine of the visa cancellations related to Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders while 86 were Nepali nationals who didn’t need visa to enter India.

The Centre said 227 of the Tablighi Jamaat members left India before blacklisting and other actions were taken.

“En masse blacklisting of the aforesaid more than 2500 foreigners of about 40 different nationalities, currently in India, without affording any opportunity to prima facie defend themselves, is an egregious and blatant violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution,” the petitioners contended.





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