A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs blacklisting foreigners, from 35 countries, presently in India and thereafter arbitrarily directing the Director Generals of Police and Police Commissioners of all States/UTs, to register FIRs against such foreigners, as reflected in the Press Release dated April 2, 2020 published by the Press Information Bureau.
The petition has been filed by the nationals of Thailand, Morocco, Mali, Kenya, Tunisia and Malaysia and Others, who have been allegedly “arbitrarily blacklisted by the MHA depriving them of their right to personal liberty and their right to travel back to their home countries thereby violating their rights as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.” One of the Petitioners Fareedah Chema, is in the 7th month of her pregnancy.
The petitioners have alleged that the impugned decision has arbitrarily and unilaterally forfeited the personal liberty of 960 foreigners, from 35 countries, present in India, having come on validly granted tourist visa, alleging their involvement “Tablighi Jamaat Activities”, without defining how such activities had been prohibited nor substantiating as to how the same led to violation of the conditions of a validly granted visa.
The petitioners have submitted that Standard Operating Procedure was issued by the MHA on 02.04.2020 with regard to transit of foreign nationals stranded in India due to COVID-19. However, the present petitioners have not even been allowed to avail of the same facility despite various countries providing assistance for the return of their nationals through chartered flights since April, 2020.
On 04.06.2020, news further emerged indicating that instead of the earlier figure of 960, now around 2500 foreign nationals, presently in India, have been arbitrarily blacklisted for a period of 10 years.
The petitioners have urged the Court for a direction calling for record and thereby declaring the impugned decision of arbitrary and unilateral blacklisting of 960 foreigners by the MHA and the subsequent blacklisting of around 2500 foreigners as reported on 04.06.2020 to be in violation of Article 21 and therefore void and unconstitutional as the petitioners have neither been provided any hearing nor notice or intimation in this regard.
The petitioners have further sought for a direction to remove the said foreigners from the blacklist and reinstate their visas and facilitate the said foreigners to return to their respective countries.
Four petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the decidion of the MHA blacklisting 2500 foreigners. All the 4 petitions have been filed by AoR Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi and drafted by Advocates Ibad Mushtaq and Ashima Mandla on 12th and 13th June. However, even the urgent mentioning for listing before the SC, in the same has not been allowed yet.
-India Legal Bureau
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