Read Order: Mohammad Asif v. Union of India and Others 

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, April 7, 2022: While adjudicating upon a habeas corpus writ filed by a Pakistani national who was awaiting his deportation after overstaying in judicial custody for 02 years and 09 months against a sentence of one year passed by the Trial Court, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has reprimanded the Director (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs and the Under Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs for taking this matter “casually” and furnishing no response to the recommendation letters sent by the Additional Superintendent, Central Jail, Amritsar, for the petitioner’s deportation. 

The Bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan directed the two aforesaid officers to file affidavits by the next hearing, failing which they were directed to appear in person before the Court to explain the delay shown by them in this matter. 

In this case at hand, a writ in the nature of habeas corpus was filed seeking the release of the petitioner, a Pakistani national who was awarded rigorous imprisonment for one year by the Trial Court in respect of an FIR registered against the petitioner under Sections 3/34/20 of Indian Passport Act, 1920 read with Section 14 of Foreigner Act, 1946

The petitioner’s counsel submitted that the petitioner already underwent the sentence of rigorous imprisonment for one year awarded by the Trial Court and even subsequent to that, he underwent total imprisonment for about two years and nine months. 

The reply of the Additional Superintendent, Central Jail, Amritsar, was filed in the Court by way of an affidavit stating that the case of the petitioner was recommended for seeking permission regarding his deportation. Due to non-action on the said recommendation, again a reminder was sent through Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Department of Home Affairs and Justice (Passport Branch), Govt. of Punjab for taking further necessary action. It was further stated that another request letter was sent to the Director (Foreigners) and to the Under Secretary (Foreigners) MHA regarding the decision taken on the deportation of Pakistani National i.e. petitioner Mohammad Asif, however, to date, no action was communicated. 

In this view, the Court took note of the fact that the petitioner, even if a foreign national, was overstaying in judicial custody for a period of more than 02 years and 09 months while making a remark that the aforesaid two officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi were “taking this matter casually”.

Accordingly, both the officers were directed to file affidavits before the next date of hearing, and in case of non-compliance with this direction, the Court directed the two officers to appear in person before the Court on the next hearing itself, to explain the delay in taking the decision on recommendation sent by the Superintendent, Central Jail, Amritsar. 

The matter was listed for further hearing on April 19, 2022.

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