Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Delhi High Court issues notice to Centre, FRRO on Syrians staying in India not able to return home due to exorbitant flight charges

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The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Centre and the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), under the Ministry of Home Affairs, on a petition filed by a Syrian family that came to India on a medical visa, but were unable to return to their homeland due to exorbitant flight charges, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The plea sought directions to FRRO to extend their visa for a period of 45 days, which is expiring on August 31. 

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice Rekha Palli directed the FRRO to take expeditious decision on the petitioner’s application for extension of visa before August 31, as their visa was expiring on this date.

Entire World reeling under the effect of Covid-19, says Delhi High Court to take compassionate view

The court instructed FRRO to take a compassionate view in light of the fact that the entire world was reeling under the effect of Covid-19, ever since the petitioners arrived in India.

According to the petition, the petitioners (5 in total) arrived in India, along with four other family members on a medical visa on July 1, 2020, for the treatment of petitioner 3 & 4. Subsequently, they applied for extension of visa and the same was granted, owing to the letter issued by Rainbow Hospital, Malviya Nagar.

The petition averred that due to sudden surge in Covid-19, the petitioners have incurred expenses far greater than anticipated, furthermore, ticket prices for flights going to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia are exorbitantly priced, leaving the petitioners unable to afford the same. The petition further avers that, four members of the petitioner’s family have booked their ticket for August 29, 2021.

The petition was filed by Advocate Zeeshan Khan, who was assisted by Advocate Varun Agrawal. Khan argued this case on Pro-Bono basis had approached the petitioners, upon learning about the plight of the petitioners through social media. Khan has argued several cases on Pro-Bono basis, including that of Afghan nationals.

The Next date of hearing is September 6, 2021.

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