COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

In view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February, 2020.

The Government has now decided to make a graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India.

Therefore, it has been decided to permit all OCI and PIO cardholders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a Tourist Visa to enter by air or water routes through authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts.  This includes flights operated under Vande Bharat Mission, Air Transport Bubble arrangements or by any non-scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. All such travellers will however have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding quarantine and other health/COVID-19 matters.

Under this graded relaxation, Government of India has also decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas (except electronic visa, Tourist Visa and Medical Visa).  If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian Mission/Posts concerned.

Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply for a Medical Visa including for their medical attendants. Therefore, this decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes etc.

Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 22-10-2020]

[Source: PIB]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Fateh Deep Singh, J. granted anticipatory bail to the petitioner, the father of the bride, while observing that marriages are given contractual tinge and are getting rampant notoriety in the State of Punjab.

Petitioner came up with the first anticipatory bail in a case bearing FIR under Sections 420 and 120-B IPC.

Allegations against petitioner, the father the bride, were that he married his daughter to the complainant as per the arrangement entered between the two sides.

In view of the arrangement, boy, i.e. the complainant was to spend the money to facilitate immigration of the couple to Canada. Wife, thereafter went to Canada after the complainant side had incurred Rs 28/30 lakhs but did not call the husband to Canada leading to the registration of the present case against the petitioner alleging that the complainant’s family have been deceived.

Petitioner’s counsel, R.S. Manhas submitted that it is a pure matrimonial dispute and it was by sheer providence the boy did not qualify for immigration and, therefore, cannot be given the colour of criminality and has sought to denounce the applicability of Section 420 IPC.

Senior DAG, Punjab, Amit Mehta contended that accused side has committed a serious fraud with the complainant party and there is a necessity of custodial interrogation.

Migrated to Canada

On appreciating the evidence placed, Court noted that the girl has been successful in migrating to Canada and the boy had failed to do so the said dispute apparently appears to be a matrimonial dispute.

Keeping in view such like matters whereby marriages are given contractual tinge and are getting rampant notoriety in the State of Punjab, Courts cannot shut its eyes to such shocking reality whereby marriages are being relegated to contracts for attainment of such sinister designs and, thus, a debatable issue arises over the very applicability of Section 420 IPC.

In view of the above observation, petitioner was directed to appear before the investigating officer.

Petitioner shall continue to join investigation and shall furnish an undertaking that he shall abide by the conditions specified under Section 438(2) CrPC. Thereafter, he will be permitted to furnish regular bail bonds to the satisfaction of the trial Court.

Hence petition stood disposed of. [Satpal Singh v. State of Punjab, CRM-M-12011 of 2020 (O&M), decided on 15-07-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: Expressing displeasure over the absence of Assam Chief Secretary Alok Kumar during a hearing on the plea seeking humane treatment to immigrants at detention centres, the  Court has asked the state government if “a non-bailable
warrant” should be issued against him.

“There is a reason why we wanted the Chief Secretary to be present. But he is not here. Should we issue a non-bailable warrant against him,”

The bench also observed that the state is dragging its feet in pursuing identification of migrants. After the conclusion of arguments, the CJI headed bench posted the matter for hearing on April 8, and directed Chief Secretary Kumar to be present in the court. Even during an earlier hearing, the Court had pulled up the Centre and Assam government over the deportation of illegal migrants from the state.

“It has become a joke and you haven’t done anything,”

The Court had also slammed Assam government for its laxity in acting against illegal migrants. Reprimanding the state government for inadequate functioning of foreigners’ tribunals, the bench had asked:

“What the state has done to tackle this serious problem.”

The Court was hearing a petition filed by social activist Harsh Mander, seeking the Court’s direction for humane treatment to immigrants held in detention centres in the state. It also submitted that the immigrants should be treated as refugees, pending their repatriation.

The matter will next be taken up on April 8.

(Source: ANI)

Also read:

SC asks Centre to provide details on Detention centres and Foreigners detained in Assam

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ has directed the Centre to provide the details of the functional detention centres in Assam and the foreigners detained there during the last 10 years. The Court has also asked the authorities to apprise it of the year-wise details as to how many illegal immigrants, after being declared so by the Foreigners Tribunal functioning in Assam, were deported to their native countries in the last decade.

The said order of the Court came in a PIL filed by activist Harsh Mander through advocate Prashant Bhushan on the plight of foreigners in detention centres wherein it has been alleged that foreigners are kept in detention indefinitely just because they are not Indians and are treated as “illegal aliens”. Advocate Prashant Bhushan argued that these persons were facing prolonged detention, adding that they should be treated as refugees and released from the detention centres after imposing certain conditions.

The Court said that foreigners can not be kept in detention centres after being declared as illegal immigrants by tribunals if the Centre had not been able to arrive at a settlement with the countries where they were to be deported. It said:

“You can ask the neighbouring countries to accept their natives, but you cannot keep them in detention centres for all the times.”

The matter will now be taken up on 19.02.2019.

(Source: PTI)

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of United Kingdom: In the matter concerning the interpretation of Section 83 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, Lord Hughes held that Section 83 can be read as a matter of language a number of ways, some are more natural than others. “In particular, Section 83 appears to focus on the time when the asylum claim has been rejected, for it is concerned with appeals against this decision, and then to ask whether, when a claimant wishes to appeal, the condition in subsection 1(b) is met.”

It was also stated that the purpose of Section 83 is very clear that provide an additional and more targeted right of appeal beyond the ordinary one created by Section 82 and that Section 83 was molded to create an extra right to appeal for those who have a longer period to leave. Thus the most valid interpretation of Section 83 is that grants of leave to remain bring the claimant within the section providing that such leave totaled more than 12 months counting from the date of refusal or later grant, and whether the grants were made before or after refusal.

In the present case, the appellant, a citizen of Uganda, was granted limited leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a student.  Before that time had expired, he applied for asylum on the grounds that the Ugandan government’s treatment of him might be affected because of his brother was suspected of being involved in terrorist activities in Uganda. His appeal was rejected by the Secretary of State, she contented on case AS (Somalia) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWHC 627 (Admin) where it was said that no more than 12 months’ leave associated with the first refusal of asylum, and no refusal of asylum associated with the much later grant of indefinite leave. The present appellant plea was too dismissed by the Court of Appeal. [MS (Uganda) v. Secretary of State for the Home Department; [2016] UKSC 33; decided on 22nd June, 2016]

Supreme Court

Supreme Court: In the present case the bench of  R.F.Nariman, J., and Ranjan Gogoi, J.,delivered a landmark judgment touching upon various issues of pressing importance related to the problem of illegal immigration from Indo-Bangladesh border with special emphasis on the problems of state of Assam.

Deliberating upon the issue that Section 6A of the Citizenship Act enacted in 1985 cannot be challenged now, as being barred by doctrine of laches or inordinate delay. The court held that with respect to petitioners’ appeal under Articles 21 to 29 of the Constitution, on behalf of the whole class of tribal and non-tribal of Assam, cannot be turned down on grounds of delay keeping in mind the fact that this violation is continuous and ongoing and doing so would amount to the Court shirking its constitutional duties. It further held that in view of the change in law the doors of justice cannot be shut on grounds of delay on violation of right to life and personal liberty and the doctrine of laches has to be looked over again in perspective of fundamental rights. The court requested the Chief Justice for constitution of an appropriate constitutional bench under Article 145(3) of the IConstitution and framed 13 questions for consideration  of the said bench, arising out of alleged validity of section 6A of the Citizenship Act.

In the present appeal, filed in the backdrop of large scale rioting which occurred in 2012-2014 in Assam, validity of section 6A of Citizenship Act 1955, inserted in 1985 pursuant to giving effect to the provisions of Assam Accord, was challenged, among other prayers, as being arbitrary and violative of the provisions of Constitution of India.

On the issue of the laissez-faire attitude of both the central and the state government on implementation of provisions of Assam Accord, court highlighted the dictum of Sarbananda Sonowal v. Union of India., (2005) 5 SCC 665, and regretted that while some parts of the accord have been wholly implemented, precious little has been done vis-a-vis others. In furtherance of the issue the Court issued direction to central and state government under Article 142 of the Constitution for comprehensively fencing the Indo-Bangladesh border in its entirety, stricting up the patrolling along the border, setting up of additional foreign tribunals and expediting the work of selecting officers for these tribunals by Gauhati High Court and lastly it directed the Central Government to work out a mechanism with Government of Bangladesh for deportation of illegal migrants. It further said that the Court would oversee the execution of the orders after 3 months and reserved the matter for hearing for March 2015. Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha v. Union of India2014 SCC OnLine SC 1017,decided on 17.12.2014