The Supreme Court has nullified an order of the Karnataka High Court putting a 10-year restriction on visiting India on the nine foreigner Tablighi Jamaat members who had attended the Nizamuddin Markaz event here during the onset of COVID-19 outbreak here. A bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna took note of the plea by one of them against the high court's decision and said that if in future, they apply for visa to visit India, their applications be treated on merits without being influenced by the high court's order.
"We clarify that in case the appellant and 8 other similarly situated persons apply for visa to visit India, the application(s) would be considered on merits without being influenced by the directions given in paragraph (i) of the impugned judgment dated October 13, and the affidavit/undertaking filed by the appellant and 8 others," the top court said in its order. The high court had ordered the 10-year restrictions on them from visiting India.
During the hearing, the apex court was told that the exit permits have been issued to the foreigners and they would leave for their home countries shortly. In view of the said statement, it is accepted that these appeals have become infructuous, except viz. the restriction/condition that the appellant would not visit India for next ten years, the court said, adding that they would not be applicable if they decide to visit India in future.
As per the information 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) card holders) have been cancelled, it said, adding that the remaining 86 include Nepalese nationals who do not require a visa.