Bombay High Court Grants Bail to Foreigners Accused of Tabligh Activities

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The Bombay High Court heard the case of Batyrov Shukhratbek and others v. The State of Maharashtra on Thursday. It granted bail to foreigners who have been accused of taking part in ‘Tabligh Activities’.

Brief Facts of the Case 

The petitioners are citizens of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. They had arrived in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. Allegedly, they violated the conditions of their visa by participating in “Tabligh activities”. Arrested on 29th March, they have remained in custody since then. They have been accused of offences under Section 14(b) of the Foreigners Act, 1946, and Sections 3 and 4 of the EDA, 1897. Charges were also framed under Sections 188, 269, and 270 of the IPC, 1860. They had filed for grant of bail before Sessions Court, but the Court dismissed it on 11th May. The reason for this was their attendance at a religious program at a Masjid in Delhi.  Moreover, it violated the conditions of their visa. It was also against the lock-down restrictions imposed in the wake of Covid-19.

Arguments of the Parties

The petitioner’s counsel argued that they had intimated the police on arrival. Hence, there was no evidence to show that they had attended the event at the Masjid in Delhi. It was further submitted that they are not associated with any “Tabligh activities”. They were residing there without violating any Visa conditions. The counsel submitted that the authorities seized the petitioners’ passports. Additionally, the petitioners are ready to cooperate with the investigating authorities. The counsel prayed for the bail of the petitioners with appropriate conditions imposed.

The State emphasized on the material on record and showed a violation of the visa conditions. Furthermore, they demonstrated the transgression of the lock-down regulations. Also, an assertion was that if granted bail, they may try to flee India. In addition to this, the APP submitted that the investigation is not complete. In due course, it is likely that they will file a charge sheet for this case. They have contacted both the embassies, asking for the background of the petitioners. CDR and SDR reports of the mobile phones used by the petitioners are also expected. For all these reasons, the Court should dismiss the petition.

Court’s Analysis

The Court observed that whether they were party to “Tabligh activities” is a matter of trial.  Also, the Officials picked up the petitioners from Gadchiroli and were then sent into quarantine, and their custody continues thereafter.  The State had feared that they would flee the country. But the Court observed that their passports were with the investigating authorities. It also noted that the petitioners have agreed to stay at a local school in Chandrapur. They have agreed to report to the police station on a regular basis. 

Court’s Decision

The Court allowed the petitioners’ bail petition. It also imposed the following conditions on the same-

  1. Both the petitioners have to furnish a bond of Rs. 20,000/- each and a surety of the same amount.
  2. Their passports will remain with the investigating authority.
  3. The applicants must report to the City Police Station, Chandrapur on every Monday. This will continue during the pendency of the Trial.
  4. They are to not indulge in any activity that would amount to a violation of Visa conditions.
  5. They are to neither tamper with the evidence nor influence the witnesses.

Furthermore, the bail granted will be liable for cancellation on violation of any of the provisions.


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