Thirty-five foreigners from various countries, who have been charged for attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi, moved a criminal revision petition in the sessions court challenging framing of charges order against them by the magistrate court.
The revision Petition moved through Advocate Ashima Mandla and Mandakini Singh, seeking to set aside the order of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate dated August 24, stating that no prima facie evidence is found against these people and they were forced to take shelter at Markaz due to circumstances.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur of Saket Court had recently framed charges against these foreign nationals for attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation for allegedly being negligent and disobeying the government guidelines issued in wake of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The magistrate court, while passed order on framing charges to start a trial against these foreigners, said the statements of the witnesses, especially the health officials prima facie, showed that there was no social distancing being followed.
The plea stated that CMM-SE order of framing charges under section 3 of the epidemic diseases act, Section 188/269 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 51 of the disaster management act on the grounds that no prima facie evidence is made out qua accused persons and seeking shelter at Markaz was a mere force of circumstance.
However, the court also said there was no iota of evidence to suggest that the present accused had in any manner professed or propagated the principles and doctrines of the Tablighi Jamaat or had indulged in Tablighi work as alleged and discharged eight foreigners of all charges.
The Saket Court had framed charges against several foreigners under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3 (disobeying regulation) of Epidemic Act, 1897.
The charges were also framed under section 51 (obstruction) Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The prosecution has levelled unsubstantiated allegations qua foreign nationals in connection with Tablighi Jamaat by making inaccurate, statements alleging foreign nationals from Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries to have attended the religious congregation at Markaz and allegedly acting as coronavirus carriers, read the plea.