He was denied entry after being convicted in smuggling case

The Madras High Court has held that it cannot direct the Centre to consider the representation of a Sri Lankan citizen, who has been denied further entry into the country after being convicted and fined in a smuggling case here.

Justice K. Chandru passed the order on a writ petition by Velu Nadesan Gobinath, represented by his sister and Power Agent Thamayanthi Deepakumar.

In the representation dated September 25 last year, the Centre was requested to give appropriate direction to the authorities concerned for issuing visa to Mr. Gopinath. He had made a representation before the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in its counter, stated that Mr. Gobinath was apprehended by the Chennai airport Customs on November 11, 2009 for smuggling gold worth Rs.4.14 lakh into India. A case was registered against him under the Customs Act. He was convicted and fined Rs.25,000 on pleading guilty.

As Mr. Gopinath had violated Indian law by indulging in smuggling, preventing his further entry into the country was necessitated. Accordingly, an order preventing his further entry was issued by the competent authority on February 24 last year.

The question before the court was whether the petitioner's representation seeking visa could be directed to be considered.

Mr. Justice Chandru cited Supreme Court decisions on the right of foreigners. Since the petitioner did not belong to India, the Supreme Court had categorically held that in such circumstances, the right of the petitioner would not arise for consideration.

“It is the absolute right of the Government of India to prevent the offender to enter India.” Hence, no direction much less to consider the representation for issuing visa to the petitioner to enter India could be granted.

The petitioner had not made out a case, Mr. Justice Chandru said, dismissing the petition.