- The High Court of Kerala revoked an FIR filed against Pakistanis who visited India for medical treatment with proper documents and showed their stand for the foreign nationals.
- The title of the case was Imran Muhammad & Ors. V. State of Kerala & Anr.
- Senior Advocate V.J. Mathew and Vipin P. Varghese represented the petitioner and the respondents were represented by Senior Government Pleader Sajju S. and Additional Public Prosecutor P. Narayanan.
- The Court believed that the respondents lacked in their findings and did not perform a proper enquiry.
- The respondents had filed a case against the foreign nationals under the Foreigners Act on grounds of failure to present a police clearance certificate (PCC) before flying from Kochi on their departure.
- The petitioners were from Pakistan who visited Kochi, India for their medical treatment. One of them suffered Cervical Spinal Cord injuries. He was receiving his treatment from a hospital in Kochi known as AAMRI Rehab International, Ernakulam.
- The foreign travellers had received their Medical Visa for three months and had flown to Kerala for medical treatment. Their arrival was communicated to the Assistant Commissioner of Police of Special Branch, Ernakulam by the hospital within 24 hours of their arrival and their actions were being monitored throughout their stay. An email consisting of the pictures of the petitioners were also forwarded by the hospital to the Special Branch.
- Upon completion of the undergoing treatment, the first petitioner was all set to fly to Chennai the next day and leave India via the Sharjah route. However, when they reached Chennai, they were not allowed to leave the country as they failed to furnish a police clearance certificate.
- The petitioners headed back to Kochi to seek a police clearance certificate. To their surprise, instead of receiving the certificate, they were informed about being booked under Section 11 and 12 of the Foreigners Act.
- For this act of abuse of process of law, the petitioners approached the High Court to seek relief.
- The court observed that the Public Prosecutor had failed to file a case under Section 11 of the Act as the genuineness of the documents was not challenged. The court thought that it did not have any doubt that the FIR was an abuse of the process of the law.
- The court stated that the petitioners had reached India with valid visas and documents furnished by the Indian Embassy in Oman and they had undergone all the procedures and formalities required under the law.
- The court noted that the petitioner was suffering from illness and was immobile so it was expected for him to not have a physical clearance certificate. The only mistake on the part of the petitioner was their failure to not have a written request for obtaining a police clearance certificate.
- The court also made it clear that the respondents had no case to prove that the petitioners had violated the terms of the visa or had caused a threat to the national security of the country. Hence, the petitioners have been accused without conduction of a proper enquiry.
- After looking into the matter and the facts of the case the court found out that the police were aware of the arrival of the foreign citizens in India and the petitioners were accused of a crime only because they requested a police clearance certificate after they left Kochi, it was held that the proceedings were illegal and the FIR was quashed.
- The court ordered the police to issue a police clearance certificate per law within three days from the day of judgement so as the foreign travellers could fly back to their native country.
Do you think the lack of coordination among the police is a major issue in our country?
What should be the magnitude of indifference and harassment tolerated by foreign travellers in our country?
Let us know your views on the issue in the comment section below!