Supreme Court to Review Centre’s Decision to Blacklist Foreign Jamaat Visitors

tablighi jamat LAWINSIDER

Khushi Gupta

Published on: May 6, 2022 at 17:04 IST

The Supreme Court will examine next week the Legality of the Union Government’s action of Blacklisting Foreigners who participated in the Tablighi Jamaat Event held in Delhi in March 2020, effectively preventing them from entering India for the next 10 years, without giving them an opportunity to be heard.

The Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, AS Oka and CT Ravikumar said, “The Government can deny visa if you have information that the person is suspected to be a spy. But if you grant visa, can you unilaterally cancel it without giving him an opportunity. And then can you blacklist anyone without giving notice to the individual?”

The observation came during the hearing of a Petition by 35 Foreign Nationals who entered India on a valid visa to participate in the Tablighi Jamaat event and were slapped with a general order blacklisting them besides being charged with Criminal Offences.

The Petitioners were aggrieved by the April 2, 2020, decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs to blacklist 960 Foreigners of 35 Countries.

The Petitioners claimed that the Orders against them were passed without hearing them and this restricted their rights under Article 21 which is a universal human right.

The Bench said, “Not giving Visa is not an issue before us. If a person is blacklisted, it has a consequence. If he applies to re-enter, blacklisting will come in his way. Can it be done unilaterally?”

“Show us judgments that support your point. It seems to be a doubtful proposition to us.”

“If these people would have come as a group, you could have issued notice to the group leader before blacklisting. But if they came from different places at different points of time, you need to give notice to each of them.”

“They should have an opportunity to respond. Else, how do they know on what basis you came to that conclusion,” the Court said.

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, representing a set of foreigners said, “How can we support anyone who is inimical to the country’s interest? But you can’t imagine things and say that I will blacklist you without giving us a chance to explain.”

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