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SC asks Centre to clarify visa status of foreign Tablighis

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5:12 am IST

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The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to reply on the status of Tablighi Jamaat’s foreign members currently staying in India, questioning why many of them are still in the country after cancellation of their visas. The Union government will also have to clarify whether any orders to cancel visas or blacklist foreign participants of Tablighi Jamaat were also issued by the state authorities. 

Adjourning hearing on pleas by foreign participants of Tablighi Jamaat for 2 July, the top court also asked the Centre to clarify if there was any general direction or individual orders sent to each blacklisted foreigner whose visa was cancelled. Over 900 foreign participants from 35 countries have been blacklisted from travelling to India for 10 years by a government press release, without mentioning if that has been done on a case to case basis.

Foreign participants of the Tablighi Jamaat congregation seek to remove their names from MHA blacklist, reinstatement of visas and facilitation of return to their home countries. Petitions in the top court claim unilateral blacklisting of foreign nationals by the Ministry of Home Affairs is arbitrary and violative of right to life and liberty. They argued that individual orders were not given to all blacklisted persons, rather press releases were issued with hundreds of names, and no one was given any prior notice.

The MHA order had blacklisted several foreigners for 10 years from entering India for alleged involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities and staying in India in violation of visa rules during the period of nationwide lockdown.

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