Multiple FIRs filed in Bihar against Tablighi Jamaat members be consolidated and transferred to one court in the state, says SC

The Supreme Court on 1st September while hearing a plea filed by 34 foreign nationals challenging the decision of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to blacklist over 3,000 of them from travelling to India for a period of 10 years directed Patna High Court that within a week’s time the Patna High Court should decide which Court will try the cases against the foreign nationals. It was further directed that the trials be completed within eight weeks, in line with the order pertaining to consolidating and trying the FIRs filed in Delhi expeditiously.

The foreign nationals were facing trial for the alleged commission of offences under provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946, the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act, 2005, as well provisions of the Indian Penal Code. The Centre has argued that *“participating in Tablighi Jamaat activities”* was a serious violation provisions of the Visa Manual, 2019 and is also a Criminal Offence punishable under Sections 13 and 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946. The Apex Court directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to file its reply to a similar intervention Application pertaining to FIRs filed in the state.

The matter has been adjourned to September 3.

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