Karnataka

Tweak visa norms to keep foreigners from overstaying, HC tells Centre

The High Court of Karnataka has suggested to the central government to make appropriate changes in the law governing grant of visa to foreign nationals to check growing instances of foreigners staying in India despite expiry of visa.

The court said that the centre could also engage with foreign countries to get an assurance for cancellation of travel documents of their citizens, co-terminus with the expiry of their visa, so that their expulsion becomes easy consistent with the principles of sovereignty and reciprocity.

“The penalties/fines for overstaying aliens should be reasonably enhanced commensurate with the seriousness of the issue. It is also desirable to request the foreign States concerned to recall their nationals immediately on the expiry of their travel documents. Precautionary measures may be many but policymakers need to advert to them, keeping in view all relevant factors,” the court said.

The court suggested that the competent authorities can include conditions in visa document that foreign nationals should leave India soon after expiry of visa, and they would be discouraged to re-enter India on subsequent occasion in case of overstay.

Justice Krishna S. Dixit passed the order while rejecting the plea of Li Dong, a 42-year-old Chinese national staying at Srirangapatna in Mandya district, for extension of visa though she has been overstaying in India for over a year.

The authorities had initially extended her visa in view of COVID-19 in China and non-availability of flights. Later, she approached the High Court seeking extension and the court allowed her to stay till the authorities considered her plea. Though the central government refused to extend her visa, she failed to leave India even after issuance of multiple leave-India notices.

Many cases

The court observed: “Nowadays, courts have been noticing a large chunk of cases involving overstaying of visa and visa violation by foreigners. In quite a few cases, an impression is gathered that the aliens concerned want to somehow perpetuate their continuance in the Indian territory and for this, several devious strategies are adopted (however, arguably petitioner’s may not be one such case).” “One such means is to commit some bailable offence and to trigger the prosecution which would more often than not be dragged for long; added to this, the bail orders obtained by them are wrongly treated by the quarters that be as the visa extensions unmindful of the difference that galores between them,” the court observed.

There is absolutely no justification for the petitioner to stay on Indian soil any longer, disobeying a series of leave-India notices, and such foreign nationals cannot be granted indulgence by the Constitutional courts, the court said.

The competent authorities in their discretion may conditionally permit the petitioner to stay in India till the first flight to China is scheduled and not beyond that, the court said, while dismissing the petition.


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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 9:14:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/tweak-visa-norms-to-keep-foreigners-from-overstaying-hc-tells-centre/article37904523.ece

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