Delhi High Court orders release of man who officials claim to be a Pakistani national

The Delhi High Court has ruled that the detention of a man, who the authorities claim to be a Pakistani national, was without any legal cause or justification and in gross violation of the procedure established by law.

A Bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani ordered immediate release of Asif Hossain from ‘Sewa Sadan Deportation Centre’ Narela in Delhi.

The court gave the direction on a habeas corpus plea by the wife of Mr. Hossain, seeking to release him from illegal detention.

Mr. Hossain was apprehended from the New Delhi Railway Station on December 13, 2012 in connection with an FIR registered at the police station crime branch here under Sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and other Sections under the Indian Penal Code, the Official Secrets Act and the Foreigners Act.

9-year jail

Upon trial, Mr. Hossain was convicted under Section 3 (spying) of the Official Secrets Act and Section 474 (possession of forged documents) of the IPC by a judgment passed on October 28, 2016. He was sentenced to undergo incarceration for a period of nine years.

Advocate Ajay Verma, representing the wife of Mr. Hossain, stated that after serving the entire sentence, Mr. Hossain was released from the Central Jail No. 14, Mandoli Prison Complex Delhi, but was sent to undergo detention at the ‘Sewa Sadan Deportation Centre’, Narela in Delhi for awaiting deportation.

The High Court noted that Mr. Hossain holds a valid Indian passport issued by the competent authority in Kolkata and also holds a valid voter ID card issued by the Election Commission of India.

“Lastly, it is evident from the record that prior to remanding him to ‘Sewa Sadan Deportation Centre’ Narela, Lampur Village, Delhi, the official respondents did not issue any show-cause notice to Asif Hossain nor did they afford him an opportunity of being heard in that regard,” the court said.

“In the present case, this court observes that Asif Hossain has already undergone the entire sentence awarded to him by the learned trial court,” the High Court said.

It also observed that the order acquitting Mr. Hossain for commission of offences under Sections 14A (staying in India without valid documents) and 14B (using forged passport) of the Foreigners Act has since attained finality as the same has not been challenged by the authorities.

‘No criminal antecedents’

“In other words, the official respondents have been unable to establish that Asif Hossain is a foreign national. There is also no quarrel with the factual position that Asif Hossain is not wanted in any other case or that he has other criminal antecedents,” the High Court added.

Taking note of all the facts and circumstances, the court said, “it can clearly and unequivocally be held that Asif Hossain is being detained by the official respondents without any legal cause, occasion or justification; and in gross violation of the procedure established by law.”

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 1:23:17 AM |

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