Foreigner Not To Decide What Constitutes Minor & Major Infractions On Visa: Bombay HC

Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court recently stated that it is not for a foreigner to determine what constitutes a minor infraction and major violation of a visa condition.

A Division Bench comprising of Justice G.S. Patel and Justice Neela Gokhale was dealing with a petition filed by Shivam Sunil Punjya, an Indian-origin foreigner who was asked to leave India.

The bench stated, “It is not for a foreigner to decide what constitutes a ‘minor’ infraction and what constitutes a ‘major infraction’. No foreigner gains that right only by claiming to be of Indian origin. There is no such thing as a minor or major infraction of a visa condition. There is either an infraction or there is compliance. Any person anywhere in violation of an entry and stay visa condition is liable to deportation from that country. That is why visas have prescribed validity periods.”

The petitioner Shivam Sunil Punjya was an Indian-American citizen. He was in the country on a temporary tourist visa.

Punjya had already broken the terms of his visa by failing to depart the country before it had expired. He lingered in India for around 18 days longer than was allowed under his tourist visa. He claimed that it was a ‘minor’ infraction.

In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the court stated, “If a person is of Indian origin then all the more we expect that person to adhere completely to the laws, rules and regulations of this country. We strongly oppose such attempts by foreigners to assert higher rights.”

According to the Court, nobody gave the petitioner the authority to decide which visa condition he would follow and which he would violate by labelling it ‘minor’.

“It is worse that the Petitioner arrogates to himself the authority to decide what to follow, what to call minor, what to transgress because he is ‘of Indian origin,” the bench added.

The Court also stated that being of Indian origin does not exempt one from obeying the law.

Therefore, the bench ruled that once the petitioner leaves India, he may apply for a new visa or re-entry.

As a result, the Court dismissed the writ petition.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte