The Delhi High Court has held that the fundamental right to equality and life should not be violated in the government’s decision to deny entry to foreign nationals.
A Single Bench of the High Court declared that though the State can deny entry to a foreigner, the decision should pass the test of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
“One can also not quibble with the proposition that a foreigner cannot claim unimpeded entry into the country. However, if the State chooses to deny a foreign national’s request to enter India, the decision of the State can be tested on the anvil of Article 21 and 14 of the Constitution by courts in India,” Justice Rajiv Shakhdher observed in a judgment pronounced on July 20.
This should be enforced especially in the case where the “foreigner is a person of Indian origin” is given certain rights like the right to have a lifelong visa, unless cancelled in accordance with law.
The judgment came in a petition filed by Mohammad Abdul Moyeed, a Canadian citizen of Indian origin with an Overseas Citizen of India card.
He had two wives and in December 2015 he travelled to India to visit differently abled 20-year-old ill son. However, he was stopped by authorities at the Hyderabad airport and sent back.
Mr. Moyeed learnt that he had been blacklisted at the behest of the Mewat Police Chief in Haryana for his involvement in Tabligh activities.
The government authorities allege that Mr. Moyeed had “visited various important mosques in Indian cities for Tabligh activities to strengthen Islamic brotherhood”.
They alleged that “he believed in orthodox Islam with an intention to propagate that Muslims should unite and fight against Western countries and the USA”.
Justice Shakhdher concluded that the “assertions” made were “nebulous and based on surmises, at least, at this stage”.
‘Not given a chance’
The court said Mr. Moyeed was not given an opportunity to be heard before he was blacklisted.
“Many a time, what seems to be an open and shut case, upon hearing, the accused persuades the decision maker to reach a different conclusion,” the HC observed.
The court directed the government to reconsider the decision to blacklist Mr. Moyeed and give him an opportunity to explain himself.
One can also not quibble with the proposition that a foreigner cannot claim unimpeded entry into the country. However, if the State chooses to deny a foreign national’s request to enter India, the decision of the State can be tested on the anvil of Article 21 and 14 of the Constitution by courts in India
Justice Rajiv Shakhdher
High Court judge
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