The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to entertain a “so-called public interest litigation” seeking deportation of those foreign nationals who have been detained solely for overstaying in India beyond their visas to their respective countries.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, while dismissing the petition, noted: “As and when a person who is in jail is coming to the court, looking to the facts and circumstances of that case, the relief can be granted.”
The Bench further added: “It ought to be kept in mind that whenever any offence has been registered against any person, the relief cannot be granted without appreciating facts of the case.”
The petition was filed by We are Saath, an NGO involved in assisting and aiding the disadvantaged sections of society, through Advocate Deepak Prakash. The plea enumerated details of certain persons who were detained for allegedly living in India on an expired visa and are convicted under the Indian Penal Code, the Passport Act and the Foreigners Act.
The plea prayed for details of all the foreign nationals who entered the territory of India legally but are currently in custody merely for overstaying herein beyond the period of expiration of their respective visas, when these persons have neither have any criminal antecedents nor are deemed to be a threat to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.
In addition, the plea prays for framing of guidelines for deportation of such foreign nationals to their respective countries.
The plea thus averred that keeping these foreign nationals in uninterrupted custody “serves no reasonable purpose in law and heavily adds to the already burdened criminal justice and rehabilitation system of the country”. “They are not alleged to have been a threat to the National Sovereignty, Integrity or Security and if deported to their respective countries, there will be no likelihood of them committing any offence within the territory of India,” added the plea.
The Bench opined that the instant petition is “not a public interest litigation at all” and has been filed to achieve some “motive”. “If any foreign national is committing any offence under Indian Penal Code or under any other Indian law, there is bound to be an FIR or criminal proceedings against such foreign nationals as per the Indian norms,” stated the Bench.