Kerala HC denied visa extension to foreign national

Jul30,2020 #kerala HC
kerala high court law insider in
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By Weindrila Sen-

The Petitioner, Jonny Paul Pierce is a 74- years old citizen of the United States Of America. The Petitioner came to India, on a tourist visa, on 26.02.2020. The visa was valid till 26.01.2025 but due to the pandemic, the Country went into lockdown in March. Due to the sudden lockdown in the country, the Petitioner got stranded for the last three months, being idle and helpless. If the Petitioner could fly back to his homeland, he would have converted his tourist visa to a business visa, and come back to India. The Petitioner also mentioned that as per the new policy of the Government of India, his visa is only valid up to 180 days in one visit, which means he has to leave India on or before 24.08.2020.

The Petitioner does not wish to leave the country, as he is at high-risk age group. He further states that he sees business opportunities at Kochi thus wishes to stay back for more six months. He also mentioned that he had sent an email to respondent no 2 and 3 stating, he feels safer in Kerala than in the USA because total death by COVID-19 has crossed over one lakh in the USA in comparison to just twenty in Kerala. The Petitioner added that he is suffering from multiple ailments and has sought help from doctors in Kochi. The Petitioner pleas on the humanitarian ground to the Court, for extension of his visa by six months, and also to permit converting his tourist visa into a business visa without leaving the country.

The Bench considering the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s view in Hans Muller of Nurenburg v. Superintendent, Presidency Jail, Calcutta [AIR 1955 SC 367], Louis De Raedt v Union of India and others [(1991) 3 SCC 554] and State of Arunachal Pradesh v Khudiram Chakma [(1994) Supp. (1) SCC 615], rejected the plea of the Petitioner. The bench mentioned that according to Article 19(1)(e) of the Indian Constitution, a foreign national cannot claim a fundamental right to reside and settle in India. It further added that permit to stay back in India falls fully under the purview of the guidelines and discretion of the Government of India thus, judicial review, in this case, is minimal.

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