The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to clarify whether visas of hundreds of foreign nationals associated with the Tablighi Jamat had been cancelled, and if so whether orders were issued in each case.
“If visas of these foreigners are cancelled, why are they still in India?…If not cancelled, we will reject these petitions,” a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjeev Khanna told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
The bench asked Mehta to inform it whether there was only a general direction, or individual orders were issued in each case, intimating about blacklisting and cancellation of visa.
The court was hearing a petition by 34 of these foreign nationals challenging an announcement by the Ministry of Home Affairs about their blacklisting.
Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the petitioners, said visas which are granted every year have suddenly stopped.
The court, however, pointed out that there was no order before it and it only had an official press release.
Senior advocate C U Singh, also appearing for the petitioners, said no notice nor any order was served on any individual. He submitted that there was no order stating that the visas will be cancelled or the foreign nationals blacklisted — what happened was their passports were simply impounded, he added.
Advocate Rajat Nair, also appearing for the Centre, said the government’s side had not been served a copy of the petition yet.
The court said, “We need to see if case by case orders needs to be taken by the state government.” It added that visa cancellation needs to be done on a case to case basis and that the orders in this regard should be produced.
Singh said the Centre must consider the plea on humanitarian grounds also, and that these Tablighi members should be sent back to their country if there was indeed a violation of visa conditions, as their country wants them back.
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