KERALA HC REJECTED THE PIL TO CONVERT TOURIST VISA INTO BUSINESS VISA

A 74 years U.S citizen has filed a PIL in Kerala High court praying for his extension of stay in India and he sought to convert his tourist visa to a business visa without leaving the country. He pleaded that he had come to India on a tourist visa on 26 Feb 2020. The visa is valid till 26 Jan 2025.B And as the country went to lockdown due to COVID 19 pandemic, he has stuck. He added that policy guidelines issues by GOI with respect to e visa and permitted to stay only up to 180 days in one visit. So he has to leave before 28 Aug 2020.

Relying upon the Supreme Court in Case “Louis De Raedt v. Union of India and Ors”, the Kerala high court observed that the Foreign national does not have the right to reside and settle in India as mentioned under Article 19(1)(e).

Further, Article 14 also cannot be invoked by foreign nationals. Rights under Articles 19(1) (d) and (e) are expressly withheld to foreigner nationals.

Kerala High court referred the judgment of Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court in ‘Hans Muller of Nurenburg v. Superintendent, Presidency Jail, Calcutta has held that the power of the Government of India to expel foreigners is absolute and unlimited and there is no provision in the Constitution fettering this discretion.

Court added as it falls within the purview of the guidelines and the discretion of the Government of India by stating, hence, the relief sought in the prayer cannot be granted to the Petitioner.
“Grant and extension of visas to foreign nationals fall exclusively within the domain of the Government of India, to ensure the sovereignty and the national security of the country, which stands at the highest pedestal. The scope of judicial review in such matters is minimal.”

The petition is accordingly dismissed.

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