Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

Justice M G Sewlikar of the Bombay High Court, who was part of a bench that quashed cases against foreign nationals who had attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi, said on Friday that he disagreed with certain observations in the ruling.

He did not agree with remarks made by his colleague Justice T V Nalavade about action taken against members of the Muslim community over protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), he said.

A division bench of Justices Nalavade and Sewlikar -- part of the Aurangabad bench of the HC -- had on August 21 quashed FIRs filed against 29 foreigners, who had attended the event in Delhi in March this year, for allegedly violating visa conditions.

The bench had said the accused were made "scapegoats" and baseless allegations were leveled that they were responsible for spreading coronavirus in the country.

It also said that the state government acted under "political compulsion", and there was a big propaganda against the foreigners who attended the Tablighi gathering.

"A political government tries to find the scapegoat when there is a pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them a scapegoat," the court had said.

However, Justice Sewlikar had stated on August 21 that while he agreed with the operative part of the order (quashing of FIRs), he did not agree with Justice Nalavade on few of the observations, and would pass a separate order.

On Friday, Justice Sewlikar issued a four-page order saying he did not agree with the remarks made by Justice Nalavade pertaining to the NRC and CAA.

"I find it difficult to concur with the observations (on CAA and NRC) as allegations in this respect are not made in the petitions nor there is any evidence in this regard.

"Therefore, in my opinion these observations are outside the scope of the petitions," Justice Sewlikar said.

Justice Nalavade in his order had said that there were large-scale protests across the country by members of the Muslim community against CAA and NRC as they believed that citizenship would not be given to Muslim refugees and migrants.

"It can be said that due to the present action taken fear was created in the minds of those Muslims. This action indirectly gave warning to Indian Muslims that action in any form and for anything can be taken against Muslims," Justice Nalavade had said.

"Thus, there is malice to the action taken against these foreigners and Muslims for their alleged activities," he had remarked.

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