Karnataka HC Affirms Government’s Authority to Expel Foreign Nationals Overstaying Without Proper Documentation

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Published on: January 22, 2024 at 11:00 IST

The Karnataka High Court has ruled that the government possesses absolute and unrestricted authority to expel foreign nationals who overstay in the country without proper documentation.

The Court dismissed a writ petition filed by a Bangladeshi national challenging the issuance of an exit permit and the imposition of a fee.

In the case, the court observed that foreign nationals do not inherently possess the right to remain in the host nation beyond the authorized period specified in their documents. However, the court directed the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to execute the exit permit without insisting on any fee from the petitioner.

Justice M Nagaprasanna stated, “The power of the Government of India to expel nationals of other countries who overstay in the nation without any document is absolute and unfettered.”

The petitioner, a Bangladeshi national, had filed the writ petition after challenges arose in extending her stay in India. The FRRO had demanded specific documents, including spousal consent, which initially led to the denial of an extension and the issuance of an exit permit.

The Court noted that the regulation of entry, stay, transit, and exit of foreign nationals falls under various legislative enactments, including the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939, Foreigners Act, 1946, Immigration (Carrier Liability) Act, 2000, and the Citizenship Act, 1955.

While the Court acknowledged the petitioner’s marriage to an Indian citizen, it emphasized that the discretionary powers of the government, FRRO, and the Bureau of Immigration must be upheld, especially in cases involving potential threats to national security.

The Court concluded that there was no basis for challenging the issuance of the exit permit and dismissed the petition.

Case Title: Raktima Khanum v Union Of India

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