New Delhi: Seven foreign nationals, members of the Islamic sect Tablighi Jamaat, which emerged as a major coronavirus hotspot in Delhi late March, have approached the Supreme Court seeking removal of their names from the list of 2,500 foreign nationals who have been barred from entering India for the next 10 years for attending the congregation. Also Read - More Than 2000 Foreign Tablighi Jamaat Members Banned From Travelling to India For 10 Years Now
The decision to this effect was taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) earlier this month. Also Read - 'They Are Terrorists And we Are Giving Them VIP Treatment': Video of Kanpur Medical College Principal Making Derogatory Remarks Against Tablighi Jamaat And Muslims Goes Viral
In their petition, filed through advocates Fuzail Ahmed Ayyubi and Ashima Mandala, the petitioners have also urged the apex court to declare the MHA’s order as ‘arbitary’ and, as such, cancel it. Also Read - Release Tablighi Jamaat members Who Completed Quarantine Period, Delhi Government Asks DMs
“Unilateral blacklisting of 960 foreigners by the Home Ministry vide press release dated April 2, 2020, and the subsequent blacklisting of around 2,500 foreigners as reported on June 4, 2020, is in violation of Article 21. Therefore, it is void and unconstitutional as the petitioners have neither been provided any hearing nor notice or intimation in this regard,” the petition states.
Among the petitioners, two are from Thailand and one each from Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia and Malaysia.
Notably, the Tablighi Jamaat congregation took place mid-March at its headquarters in east Delhi’s Nizamuddin, at a time restrictions were coming in effect in the capital to contain the spread of coronavirus. At one point, nearly 30% of country’s total coronavirus cases were linked to the Jamaat gathering.