The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to ta foreign nationals, who were arrested in April for allegedly indulging in Tablighi activities and for attending the congregation at a Masjid in Delhi, during the lockdown period. The HC has allowed their release on the ground that they would be staying in a local Masjid till the culmination of the trial.
A bench of Justice Manish Pitale granted bail to the duo, who are citizens of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The duo was arrested from Gadchiroli under the relevant provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and the Indian Penal Code.
The allegation against the duo was that they had violated conditions of the visa, granted to them by arriving in Gadchiroli and indulging in Tabligh activities. The police alleged that they had also violated conditions of lockdown.
The duo had initially moved a bail plea before a lower court, which refused to grant them bail primarily for the reason that they had allegedly attended a religious program at a Masjid at Delhi and they had violated conditions of their visa as also lock-down conditions imposed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Before Justice Pitale, the prosecution opposed the bail saying that the duo could fly out of India and later won't turn up for the trial.
"The applicants are citizens of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan who have arrived in this country on the basis of valid visas. Although there is an allegation that they had violated the visa conditions, primarily by engaging in Tabligh activities but whether such conditions were violated or not would be a matter for trial," Justice Pitale said.
The bench further noted that the prosecution's only argument was that the duo could leave India illegally. "But it is admitted position that their passports are in custody of the investigating authority. In fact, the duo have undertaken to stay at the premises of a local Masjid in Chandrapur, thus they could be enlarged on bail," Justice Pitale said.