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Supreme Court seeks clarity from Centre on status of foreign Tablighis



New Delhi: The Supreme Court sought clarity from the Centre on Monday on the status of the foreign nationals who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi ahead of the imposition of the nationwide lockdown, asking whether they had been deported if their visas had been cancelled by the government.

The government had blacklisted 900 of them, a move which would not allow them to travel to India for 10 years. These foreign nationals later challenged the en masse blacklisting order against them in the top court.

A bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar allowed the government more time to respond to the petition after the Centre, through solicitor general Tushar Mehta and his junior Rajat Nair, sought more time on Monday on the grounds that they had not received a copy of the petition.

Justice Khanwilkar, however, demanded to know what was being done about the foreign nationals if their visas had been cancelled. The bench asked whether only one general order had been issued against all of them or specific orders had been passed against each of the persons.

“If the visas of these foreigners are cancelled, why are they still in India? You deport them. If you haven’t cancelled, we will throw out these petitions,” said Justice Khanwilkar.

Senior advocate CU Singh, arguing the case on behalf of the petitioners, said the blacklisting order was a general one and not specific. The bench said though a subsequent home ministry notification had said that the decision would be taken by the state authorities on a case to case basis.

Singh then argued that the countries of the foreign nationals had been asking for them back. “Their embassies are asking for them,” he said. The court then sought a statement from the government on their status.


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