The Bombay High Court on Monday quashed the FIR and the charge sheet filed against 8 Myanmar Nationals, who were a part of the Tablighi Jamaat. The court observed that there was no material on record to prove that they had indulged in any act which was likely to spread COVID-19, adding that “allowing the prosecution to continue would be nothing but an abuse of the process of the Court, especially because of lack of evidence supporting the charges levelled against the foreigners.”
The Bench of Justice V. M. Deshpande and Justice Amit B. Borkar noted from the statements of witnesses that the 8 Myanmar Nationals only read the Qur’an and offered namaz at a local mosque, and acquainted themselves about Indian Muslim culture.
The Court took into account the fact that they do not even know Hindi and therefore, there could be no question of them engaging in any religious discourse or speech.
The applicants are nationals of Myanmar, who had obtained a Tourist Visa on arrival from Kolkata Airport to visit India and to attend religious seminars in India.
The court further noted that compelling the applicants to undergo the trial would cause grave injustice. “We, therefore, deem it appropriate to quash the FIR,” it declared.
This comes after the Bombay High Court quashed FIRs filed against a total of 29 foreign nationals while stating that the Tablighi Jamaat members were made “scapegoats” and criticised the “big media propaganda” against them after noting that they were “virtually persecuted” with a campaign that they were responsible for spreading COVID-19 in India.
In June, the Madras HC had quashed FIRs against Tablighi Jamaat foreigners after observing that they had “suffered enough” and urged the centre to consider their request to return to their native places.