Tablighi Jamaat: HC directs police to file list of all FIRs against foreigners who pleaded guilty

new delhi: After several foreigners from multiple countries approached the Delhi High Court to quash second FIRs against them for attending the Tablighi Jamaat event in March; the court on Tuesday directed the Delhi Police to submit a tabulated summary of all FIRs and chargesheets, filed or to be filed before it along with their present status.

These foreigners had been booked and chargesheeted by the police in one case involving over 950 foreigners in the Tablighi Jamaat case, following which they had agreed to a plea deal, which had also been approved by the competent authority. However, they were unable to return to their countries because they found out that the Delhi Police had other cases registered against them.

Justice Anup Bhambhani of the Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and the Delhi Police to file their stays reports on this issue before the trial court by the next date of hearing on August 10, when other similar petitions are listed for hearing.

The high court was hearing two separate petitions filed by 23 foreigners, who sought the quashing of the second FIR against them in light of the fact that the charges were identical and they had already pleaded guilty for charges in the first FIR. These 23 petitioners are nationals of Australia, South Africa, Indonesia and Sri Lanka and are arrayed as accused in the chargesheets filed by the police.

The counsel contended that the police cannot lodge separate FIRs for the same alleged offence and they are unable to go back due to look out circulars (LOCs) being opened against them. She said while the first FIR was lodged on March 31, this second FIR by the police was filed later on and added that the foreign nationals were not informed of these additional FIRs before the Saket court where they pleaded guilty.

In the two petitions filed by advocates Ashima Mandla and Mandakini Singh, the petitioners have sought quashing of two FIRs registered at various police stations under various sections of IPC and the Epidemic Diseases Act.

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