In a strongly-worded judgment, the Bombay High Court on Friday 22 August quashed the FIRs filed against a total of 29 foreign nationals who were booked for allegedly violating their Tourist Visa conditions by attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Nizamuddin in Delhi earlier this year.

A Division Bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice MG Sewlikar of the Aurangabad bench heard the three separate petitions filed by petitioners who belong to countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Djibouti, Benin and Indonesia.

Police also booked six Indian nationals and trustees of the Masjids for giving shelter to the petitioners.

All the petitioners were booked after police claimed to have received secret information about them residing at the respective masjids in different areas and offering prayers in violation of lockdown orders.

Justice TV Nalawade observed:

“The material on the record shows that Tabligh Jamamat is not a separate sect of Muslim, but it is only movement for reformation of religion. Every religion has evolved over the years due to reformation as reformation is always necessary due to the changes in the society and the development achieved in the material world.

In any case, even from the record, it cannot be inferred that the foreigners were spreading Islam religion by converting persons of other religion to Islam.

The record shows that the foreigners were not talking Indian languages like Hindi or Urdu and they were talking languages like Arabian, French etc. In view of the aforesaid discussion, it can be said that the foreigners may have intention to know the ideas of Tabligh Jamamat about the reformation.

The allegations are very vague in nature and from these allegations inference is not possible at any stage that they were spreading Islam religion and there was intention of conversion. It is also not the case that there was an element of persuasion on any point from these foreigners.”