Delhi HC to hear pleas to quash FIRs for housing Tablighi Jamaat attendees

Last Updated : 03 April 2022, 17:35 IST
Last Updated : 03 April 2022, 17:35 IST

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The Delhi High Court will hear on Monday a batch of petitions seeking quashing of FIRs lodged against certain Indian nationals for hosting foreign attendees of the March 2020 Tablighi Jamaat congregation.

While some of the petitions pertain to FIRs against individuals who had provided refuge to the foreigners in their houses, others concern people, such as the managing committee members or caretakers of different mosques, who had provided housing facilities in these mosques located within the Chandni Mahal police station limits.

The petitions, which were opposed by the Delhi Police earlier this year, will be heard by Justice Yogesh Khanna.

In January, the city police had told the court that the accused local residents gave shelter to the attendees who had travelled from the Nizamuddin Markaz in violation of the prohibitory orders on movement of people to contain the spread of COVID-19.

It had said while the members of the Jamaat resided in the Nizamuddin Markaz from March 26 to March 31, 2020, they were found to be present in the Chandni Mahal area on April 1.

In the status report of one of the cases, the police had said the chargesheet was filed. It had also informed that inspections were carried out in the Nizamuddin Markaz from March 26 to March 31, 2020 in connection with another FIR and the foreign nationals in question were found to be residing there.

However, in early April 2020, it received information that several foreign nationals were residing in the Chandni Mahal area and after an investigation, "it became clear that the members of the Jamaat had moved from the Markaz in Nizamuddin", which was in violation of the prohibitory orders clamped by the authorities, the police had said.

The status report also said on March 24, 2020, the Centre had imposed a nationwide lockdown in view of the pandemic.

The police had said by accepting and allowing them to reside in the local mosques without following any social-distancing norms, the accused had also breached the Delhi government order closing religious places.

FIRs were registered under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In their plea filed through advocates Mandla and Mandakini Singh, two petitioners -- Feroz and Rizwan -- who had provided accommodation to four women Tablighi Jamaat attendees, have contended that they had done so as the women had nowhere to go during the lockdown.

Feroz, Rizwan and other petitioners have also contended that there is no documentation on record in either the FIR or the chargesheet to indicate that they were infected by Covid-19 and therefore, they could not have been accused of spreading the disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

In his petition, Rizwan has alleged that this is a classic example of a case wherein unsubstantiated allegations have been embellished and exaggerated.

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Published 03 April 2022, 17:35 IST

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