The Allahabad High Court has granted interim bail to six Bangladeshi nationals booked for allegedly misusing their tourist visas by taking part in a religious congregation at Delhi's Nizamuddin and thereafter, coming to Lucknow without undergoing a medical examination, leading to the apprehension that they were responsible for the spread of coronavirus among people.
The Lucknow bench of the court, however, imposed strict conditions on them, including that they would not leave the country without obtaining permission from the competent court.
On the bail pleas moved by seven Bangladeshi tourists, a bench of Justice A R Masoodi passed the order on Tuesday, which was uploaded on the court's website on Wednesday.
In its order, the court clarified that the Bangladeshi nationals would have to surrender before the expiry of their visas. Some of them have visa validity till July, while one has it till February, 2021.
Passing the interim order, the bench said the applicants be released from jail on furnishing a bail bond each and a reliable surety to the satisfaction of the court concerned.
Meanwhile, considering the legal complications regarding the stay of these foreign nationals in the country after the expiry of their visas and other issues, the bench issued notices to the High Commission of Bangladesh and Union Ministry of External Affairs for addressing several questions regarding their release.
The court fixed July 16 as the next date of hearing for considering granting regular bail to the applicants.
The applicants include Mohammad Shafiulla, Zaheer Islam alias Mohammad Zaheer-ul-Islam, Mohammad Alauddin, Jameela Akhtar, Rahima Khatoon alias Most Rahima and Zareena Khatoon alias Jorina Khatun.
They were booked by Lucknow's Madion police under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, section 56 of the Disaster Management Act and sections 13, 14B and 14C of the Foreigners Act.
While granting bail to six applicants, the court restrained itself from granting the liberty to the seventh applicant — Akalli Nahar alias Aklimun Nahar — as his visa had expired in April.
Earlier, arguing for the applicants, advocate Pranshu Agrawal submitted that they had come to the country on valid visas and informed about their movements to the authorities concerned. They were arrested on April 18 and had spent a considerable time in jail since then for offences for which the maximum punishment was only five years in jail and hence, they were entitled to be released on bail, the lawyer said.