Nizamuddin Markaz: Foreign Jamaatis may go home soon as plea bargaining allowed to expedite cases

The applications for plea bargaining, filed by Malaysian nationals who attended Tablighi Jamat Markaz, have been listed before a Metropolitan Magistrate for July 8.

The foreign attendees of the Nizamuddin Markaz event may soon get a chance to return to their home countries with a Delhi court granting bail to 122 Malaysian nationals on Tuesday.

The Malaysian nationals, named in three separate chargesheets, have now filed applications for plea bargaining. The hearing on the plea bargain applications will be held before a metropolitan magistrate on Wednesday. The hearings for accused from other countries have been scheduled for the coming week.

The foreign Jamaatis were charge sheeted for attending Tablighi Jamat Markaz at Nizamuddin in Delhi by violating visa conditions and government guidelines, issued in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak.

The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police had filed 48 separate chargesheets and 11 supplementary chargesheets against 956 foreign citizens from 36 countries for participation in the Tablighi Jamaat event.

The foreign attendees have been charged with provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, Disaster Management Act and provisions of the Indian Penal Code relating to spread of deadly disease and violation of orders of a government servant.

The court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur took cognizance of the chargesheets on Monday, setting out a schedule of hearings for nationals from various countries.

On Tuesday, the court granted bail to 122 Malaysian citizens on a personal bond of 10,000 rupees each in the presence of an official of the Malaysian High Commission.

A magistrate court will now hear the plea bargaining applications on Wednesday.

The plea argued that the charges against the accused are “minor charges” and allow for a fine to be paid instead of a full trial. They have also said the foreign nationals did not have any role to play in the organisation of the event and any blame for violation of government orders would lie with the event organisers.

The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court has also directed the Magistrate to expedite the disposal of the plea bargaining applications.

The Central government had informed the Delhi High Court last week that it would “have no objection to the petitioners exiting the country” once the criminal proceedings before the courts conclude.

This was done on a plea filed by some who have been chargesheeted, asking for expedited trials so that the foreigners don’t have to stay in India for a long criminal trial.

The high court had noted that the accused are in India “perhaps only to face proceedings in these cases; and that, as stated at the bar, many accused would be willing to plead guilty or enter plea-bargains”

The trial court has scheduled hearing on cognizance taken on 22 chargesheets filed against accused persons from 22 different countries on Wednesday, and has chalked out a schedule for the remaining chargesheets till July 16.

Source: India Today

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