A Delhi court Tuesday allowed foreign nationals from five countries to walk free on payment of different fines, after they accepted mild charges under the plea bargain process, related to various violations including visa norms while attending Tablighi Jamaat congregation in New Delhi during the COVID-19 lockdown, a lawyer said.
However, three Sri Lankans as also other foreigners from Nigeria and Tanzania claimed trial before the court, said the lawyer.
Metropolitan Magistrate Dev Choudhary allowed foreigners from Djibouti, Mali, Kenya and 17 Sri Lankans to walk free on payment of a fine of Rs 5,000 each, said advocate Ashima Mandla, appearing for them.
Metropolitan Magistrate Akash allowed some Myanmar nationals to walk free on payment of a fine of 5,000 each, while others claimed trial before the court, said advocate Fahim Khan, representing them.
Under plea bargaining, the accused plead guilty to the offence praying for a lesser punishment.
The Code of Criminal Procedure allows plea bargaining for cases where the maximum punishment is imprisonment for seven years, where offences don't affect the socio-economic conditions of the society and when the offences are not committed against a woman or a child below 14 years.
The court accepted the plea bargain applications for the foreigners, who were allowed to walk free, after the Sub-divisional magistrate of Defence Colony, who was the complainant in the case, Additional commissioner of Police of Lajpat Nagar, Inspector of Nizamuddin said they have no objection to it.
They were charge-sheeted for attending the religious congregation at Nizamuddin Markaz event in the national capital by allegedly violating visa conditions, indulging in missionary activities illegally and violating government guidelines, issued in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
All the foreign nationals were granted bail earlier by the court on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 each.