Tablighi matter: SC asks authorities to examine future visa applications of blacklisted foreigners | India News – Times of India

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the authorities to examine the applications filed by foreigners seeking future visas for those who were blacklisted from traveling to India for 10 years on charges of being involved in Tablighi Jamaat activities in a case. The basis of the case is according to law.
The apex court was hearing an appeal challenging an order to blacklist several citizens of 35 countries from traveling to India for 10 years for alleged involvement in the activities of Tablighi Jamaat.
A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar noted that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Center, had submitted “all justifications” that no separate blacklist was ordered for the petitioners or similarly placed persons.
“In view of the matter, we are instructing the concerned authorities to examine the future applications for visa grant to be made by the applicant or similar persons on a case-by-case basis as per law, without being affected by the stand taken by the respondents in the affidavit of reply.” The bench comprising Justice AS Oka and JB Pardiwala said.
The apex court said that in considering such petitions, the authorities would be free to consider all aspects of the matter which may be allowed by law.
The bench observed that although several questions of law were raised by both the parties, “we do not wish to elaborate on the bizarre details of the present case as the applicants before us have already left India as a result of visa cancellation.”
It said the only issue that remained was the blacklisting order passed by the concerned authorities, as stated in the affidavit filed earlier in the court on behalf of the Union of India.
The bench observed that the petitioners stated that they or other similar persons were not ordered to be blacklisted.
It noted that the affidavit refers to the issuance of a blacklisting order, but no such order was presented to the court on record.
“The affidavits submitted by the respondents indicate that a separate blacklisting order has been passed and will be served on the persons concerned at the time of their departure from India,” it noted.
The bench said that the petitioners’ case is that they were not ordered to leave at the time of departure or otherwise.
In its order, the bench made it clear that the questions raised by both the parties before the court, including the maintainability of the petitions, were not comprehensive.
The Center argued on Wednesday that the petitions were “not maintainable” and that entry into a sovereign state could never be a valid fundamental right.
Mehta said that the right to enter a sovereign country, contrary to the law of that country, is never found in Article 21 of the Constitution.
He suggested that applicants could make a representation to the authorities.
Mehta argued that the preaching activity was banned by several countries in different parts of the world and had been banned by India since 2003.
The Center had earlier told the apex court that the right to refuse or grant a visa is an executive decision and the government is trying to find a solution that protects the national interest and the interests of foreigners.
The counsel for the petitioners argued that they had no dispute over the right to deny or grant visa to India and the issue was blacklisting which has been going on for 10 years and also applies to those who have been acquitted or released from court in Tablighi. Jamaat’s case during COVID-19 in 2020.
Earlier, the Center had asked the bench to examine the question of the right of a foreign national to go to local court in case of violation of visa requirements.
In January of this year, the Solicitor General told the bench that a very important “constitutional question” had been raised for consideration relating to the foreigner’s right to visa restrictions.
The apex court was hearing several petitions filed by foreigners challenging the Centre’s order to blacklist more than 2,700 citizens of 35 countries from traveling to India for 10 years for alleged involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities.
The Center had earlier sought dismissal of the application and informed the apex court in July 2020 that it had issued separate orders on a case-by-case basis for visa revocation and blacklisting of 2,765 foreign nationals.
According to the information received, 205 FIRs have been lodged against the foreign Tablighi Jamaat members by 11 states and so far 2,765 foreigners have been blacklisted, the Center had earlier said in an affidavit filed in the apex court.
Some petitions claim that the massive blacklisting of foreigners without any opportunity to defend themselves is a clear violation of Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.

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