SC: Grant of visa ‘sovereign right’of a state

Maulana Ala Hadrami and ors v. UOI.
Writ petition (C) No. 600 of 2020

A plea challenging the cancellation of visas of 2,765 foreign nationals and their blacklisting for involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities, was filed in SC.

The senior counsel pleaded that “The matter should be examined on a humanitarian ground also. If there is visa violation, you must send them back to their country. Their home countries are asking for them to be sent back, embassies are also enquiring about this.”

Around 960 people were blacklisted on April 2 as per PIB, and then government further blacklisted 2500 foreigners as on April 4th.

The Bench said: “If visas of these foreigners are cancelled, why are they still in India? You deport them. Also, tell us if there was just a general direction or individual orders sent to each one of them informing about blacklisting and cancellation of Visa.”

The decision taken was unilateral and arbitrary.

The petitioner’s pointed out that preventive detention applies to foreign national also, and it was prayed before the court that Article 21 of the Constitution of India should not only apply to citizens but also to foreigners, thus the word ‘person’ should be used in place of ‘non-citzens’.

Solicitor General, Tushra Mehta said that the government denied the contention of the foreigners and their visas were cancelled en masse and said that visas of 2,679 foreigners including nine Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders have been cancelled on a case-to-case basis.

Additionally he told the Court that grant of visa is not an enforceable right. Grant of visa is a sovereign right of a state, and if they are have committed any offence, they have to be tried.

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