Tablighi Jammat: SC seeks reply of Bihar govt on plea for consolidation of trial

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a reply from the Bihar government on an argument 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 done 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 lookout notices issued against some foreigners, who have challenged in the top court the government’s orders blacklisting several citizens of 35 countries for claimed involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities, have been withdrawn.

The Solicitor General had said that candidates who are before the top court would be “free to leave” India subject to any other pending proceedings, including order passed by the court requiring their presence.

As per the data 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) cardholders) have been canceled, it had said, adding that remaining 86 include Nepalese nationals who do not require a visa.

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