Foreign participants of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area have challenged their blacklisting by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Supreme Court, terming the order “arbitrary”. The petition filed by seven foreign nationals, including two from Thailand, one each from Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Kenya and Tunisia, seek to remove their names from MHA blacklist, reinstatement of their visas and facilitation of return to home countries.
Seven-month pregnant Thai national Fareedah Cheema wants to return to her home country to give birth with dignity around her loved ones. She was quarantined in March like other foreigners and released in late May but is still at a facility allowing restricted movement. The petition reads, “Unilateral blacklisting of 960 foreigners by the MHA vide press release dated April 2 and the subsequent blacklisting of around 2,500 foreigners as reported on 4 June, violates Article 21. It is void and unconstitutional as the petitioners have neither been provided with any hearing nor notice or intimation.”
The MHA order had blacklisted several foreigners for ten years from entering India. The plea claims, “The en masse blacklisting of foreigners, currently in India, without affording any opportunity to prima facie defend themselves, is egregious. This sudden blacklisting has, besides registration of FIRs against such foreigners, led to the forfeiture of their passports by state authorities, thereby resulting in complete deprivation of their liberty sans procedure established by law.”