The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed the FIRs filed against the members of the Tablighi Jamaat and made scathing observations against the government. While quashing the FIRs filed against the foreign nationals associated with the Islamic organisation, the Bombay High Court said, “A political Government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them scapegoats.”
The court, according to Livelaw, added, “the latest figures of infection in India show that such action against present petitioners should not have been taken. It is now high time for the concerned to repent about this action taken against the foreigners and to take some positive steps to repair the damage.”
The High Court also said that as per visa conditions ‘there is no restriction on foreigners for visiting religious places and attending normal religious activities like attending religious discourses.’
A division bench of Justices TV Nalawade and MG Sewlikar also said that the ‘inference is not possible at any stage that they were spreading Islam religion and there was intention of conversion.’
“There was big propaganda in print media & electronic media against the foreigners who had come to Markaz Delhi & an attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading COVID-19 virus in India”- Bombay HC while quashing FIRs #TablighiJamaat
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) August 22, 2020
“There was big propaganda in print media & electronic media against the foreigners who had come to Markaz Delhi & an attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading COVID-19 virus in India,” the court added.
The court, according to the Livelaw website, said that there was a ‘smell of malice’ in the action taken against Tablighi Jamaat followers.
FIRs were filed against 29 foreign nationals for attending the event at the Nizamuddin Markaz of Tablighi Jamaat. Pro-government Indian TV channels had unleashed a dirty campaign against them by blaming them for the spread of coronavirus in India.
Significantly, the same bench of Justices TV Nalawade and M G Sewlikar had in February 2020 quashed Section 144 orders after observing that ant-CAA protesters cannot be called “anti-nationals or traitors”.