NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Bihar government on a plea of 13 foreign Tablighi Jamaat members, facing criminal cases for alleged violation of visa norms, that their trial be consolidated before one court in the state.
A bench comprising justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna asked the state government to respond to the plea and posted the matter for hearing on Monday.
In a hearing conducted through video conferencing, the bench suggested that the trial against these 13 Jamaat members can be conducted before one court in Patna.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said that he does not have any objection and the trial can be consolidated as done in Delhi where a court at Saket is hearing all such cases.
Earlier, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that look out notices issued against some foreigners, who have challenged in the apex court the government’s orders blacklisting several citizens of 35 countries for alleged involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities, have been withdrawn.
ALSO READ | ‘Persecution and propaganda’ evident in media coverage of Tablighi Jamaatis: Bombay HC
The Solicitor General had said that petitioners who are before the apex court would be “free to leave” India subject to any other pending proceedings including order passed by the court requiring their presence.
“Solicitor General has also, in all fairness, submitted that if the concerned petitioners tender apology, as envisaged by the Madras High Court in the concerned criminal case, the said petitioners can be permitted to leave India despite the pendency of the criminal case but subject to such orders that may be passed by the concerned trial court,” the bench had said in its order.
As per the information available, 205 FIRs have been lodged against foreign Tablighi Jamaat members by 11 states and 2,765 such foreigners have been blacklisted so far, the Centre had said in its affidavit.
Of these, visas of 2,679 foreigners (including 9 Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders) have been cancelled, it had said, adding that remaining 86 include Nepalese nationals who do not require visa.