A Delhi court Monday allowed foreign nationals from 14 countries to walk free on payment of different fines, after they accepted mild charges, under the plea bargain process, related to various violations including visa norms while attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation during the COVID-19 lockdown, a lawyer said.
Foreigners from five countries, however, claimed trial before the court, said the lawyer. Metropolitan Magistrate Himanshu allowed the foreign nationals from Algeria, Belgium, UK, Egypt and Philippines to walk free on payment of a fine of Rs, 10,000 each.
Another Metropolitan Magistrate Aashish Gupta allowed five Sudanese nationals to walk free on payment of a fine of 5000 each. Metropolitan Magistrate Paras Dalal allowed foreigners from China, Morocco , Ukraine, Ethiopia, Fiji, Australia, Brazil, Afghanistan were allowed to walk free on payment of a fine of 5000 each.
They were allowed to walk free after the Sub-divisional magistrate of Lajpat Nagar, who was the complainant in the case, Additional commissioner of Police of Lajpat Nagar, Inspector of Nizamuddin said they have no objection to their plea.
However, two Sudanese nationals, foreigners from Jordan, US, Russia, Kazakhstan and one Overseas Citizen of India from UK did not plead guilty to milder charges and claimed trial, said advocates Ashima Mandla, Mandakini Singh, Fahim Khan and Ahhmed Khan, representing them.
Under plea bargaining, the accused plead guilty to the offence praying for a lesser punishment. The Criminal Procedure of Code allows plea bargaining for cases where the maximum punishment is imprisonment for seven years, where offences don’t affect the socio-economic conditions of the society and when the offences are not committed against a woman or a child below 14 years.
They were charge-sheeted for attending the religious congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz event in the national capital by allegedly violating visa conditions, indulging in missionary activities illegally and violating government guidelines, issued in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
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