Kerala HC quashes case against Pak nationals, asks cops to be more sensible with foreigners

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By Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday quashed a criminal case against two Pakistan nationals — Imran Muhammed and Ali Asghar — who were booked under the Foreigners Act, and ordered to issue a police clearance certificate for their exit travel from India to Pakistan. They came to India for medical treatment for Imran Muhammed on August 18 this year.

“It is expected that when foreign nationals are involved, responsible officials would exhibit little more sensibility and act cautiously. An exception has to be taken for registering a crime at the drop of a hat. Here, absolutely no reason is made out for initiating criminal prosecution against the petitioners who had reached India with valid travel documents; their arrival was duly intimated to the Special Branch and the officials of the Special Branch were monitoring them,” observed Justice K Haripal.

The petitioners submitted that immediately on arrival, the city police commissioner was contacted and the commission informed that the Special Branch, Ernakulam, is the designated authority. Accordingly, the hospital contacted the Special Branch, Ernakulam by telephone and informed them of the arrival of petitioners within 24 hours. The Special Branch asked the hospital to e-mail the photographs of the Pakistani citizens.

After the treatment, their plan was to fly to Chennai from Kochi and to leave India. But when reached Chennai, they were not allowed to leave the country for want of a police clearance certificate. Then they came back to Kochi and sought a police clearance certificate. But it was not issued and the police informed them that a case was registered against them under sections 11 and 14 of the Foreigners Act.

The court observed that the case against the Pakistani citizens was clearly an abuse of the process of law. The public prosecutor could not appraise the court of how Section 11 of the Foreigners Act would be attracted in the given facts of the case. The court pointed out that they had reached India under a valid visa issued by the Indian embassy in Muscat (Oman), on August 18. 

Imran Mohammed was suffering from serious illness with a cervical spinal cord injury and paralysis; he is in an immobile condition. Such a person cannot be expected to reach the police station and make a report physically. Ali Asghar is his medical attendant. The hospital authorities intimated the details regarding their visit to the police. “Still it is not known as to how police could register a case against the petitioners under Section 11 read with 14 of the Foreigners Act,” the court observed and added that the act of the police in registering a crime against the petitioners cannot be justified, the HC said.   
 



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