In accordance with the violation of the Covid-19 norms by Tablighi Jamaat participants at Nizamuddin Markaz, the Delhi High Court acquitted several foreign nationals in this criminal case. The mentioned foreign nationals belong to some 10 different countries, including the United States of America as well as Russia.
The judgement was held after the prosecution had failed to prove that the accused was present at the relevant time at the relevant place in the case of State v. Mohammed Jamal; State v. Kuvanchbek Abakirov.
The present case had been registered at the PS Crime Branch on March 31’ 2020, in the pursuance of the complaint registered against Inspector Mukesh Walia, New Delhi, under s.3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, sections 51 and 58 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and sections 188/ 269/ 270/ 271/ 120 B under IPC. (Penalty violation (s.188 of IPC); (punishment for obstruction (s.51 of DMA, 1005) etc.)
Initially, some 8 people were accused but later, there was the filing of as many as 48 charge sheets and 11 supplementary charge sheets arraying 952 foreign nationals as accused of the alleged commission of offense u/s 14.
However, after filing and defiling of many charge sheets, some 5 accused were, by end of the entire process, were detained and charged under Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, Section 51 f Disaster Management Act, 2005, Section 188 and Section 269 of IPC.
By the same order, the accused were discharged of the offenses punishable under s.14(b) of Foreigner act, 1946, and for the offenses punishable under s. 270/ 271 under IPC.
In the view of the contradictions in the arguments by the prosecution. Justice Arun Kumar Garg, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Saket Courts, remarked,
“The accused were picked up from different places so as to maliciously prosecute them upon directions from Ministry of home affairs, Govt. of India” was ‘reasonably probable’.”
The court held that the prosecution failed to establish as well prove that the accused were present at the relevant place at the relevant time. The court further stated that the prosecution also failed to prove the disobedience of any kind, which might have been contained in the order as there has been no proof of that accused presence at Markaz during the relevant time period.
While considering the absence of proof, the court further ruled that the offense under s.269 has not been proved since none of the accused showed any of the Covid-19 symptoms at the time of their alleged evacuation.
“..even if it is assumed for the sake of argument that some of the accused are proved to have been found Covid 19 positive on different dates i.e. 01.04.2020, 09.04.2020 and 10.04.2020, in the absence of any symptoms at the time of their alleged stay at Markaz, they can’t be said to have been indulged in the commission of any negligent act likely to spread infection,”
the Court added.
The charges under s.3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 and s. 51 of the Disaster Management Act of 2005 was also not proven, hence, the charges under these sections were removed by the court from the accused as well and he was acquitted due to lack of evidence of the accused presence.
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