The Aurangabad division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising of Justice T V Nalawade and Justice M G Sewlikar passed an order on 21st August quashing the FIRs lodged against 29 foreigners and six Indians in relation to the Tablighi Jamaat incident at Delhi.
Charges were filed under several provisions of the IPC, Epidemic Diseases Act, Maharashtra Police Act, Disaster Management Act and the Foreigners Act for congregating and conducting religious discourses across Masjids in Maharashtra during the ongoing pandemic.
Justice Nalawade remarked “A political government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them scapegoats” The judge also noted that the Government acted in a biased manner in addition to the media creating the propaganda of blaming those at the Markaz for ‘spreading the virus in India’
The state contended that the accused had visited several places in violation of the guidelines and had not come forward to get tested. However these contentions along with the prayer for staying order was refused.
The petitioners had submitted that the Superintendent of Police was informed of their arrival and they were merely practising their right of religious freedom.
Konan Kodio Ganstone & Ors V. State of Maharashtra and Allied Petitions