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HC pulls up govt on detention of foreigners
Published on 4 Oct. 2009 11:23 PM IST
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The Delhi High Court has pulled up the government for detaining many foreigners, particularly Pakistanis, without proper detention order, and wanted to know why these people have not been deported to their countries. Counsel Arvind Nigam told a bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan that many foreign nationals have been languishing in Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) deportation camps since 2006 and no effort has been made by the government to deport them. “Some people have been there for 2-3 years without any detention order,” Nigam told the court. The exact number of people detained in these camps is not known. Last year, 11 detainees wrote a letter to the Chief Justice complaining about the poor conditions of living in deportation camps. They said the camps faced perennial shortage of drinking water and the quality of food served was also poor. The court took the letter as a public interest litigation and initiated legal proceedings. Government counsel Zubeda Begum said some of the people have been detained for security reasons. Others have been detained for crimes like not possessing proper visa documents and not completing basic immigration formalities. To this, the court said: “You (government) must detain the person with appropriate legal order.” The court also asked the government counsel whether any exchange of detainees has taken place between India and Pakistan. The petition says that many of the foreign nationals in the camps are Pakistanis. The exact number of Pakistanis in such camps is not known. “Provide us with the figures as to how many such exchange of prisoners took place (between India and Pakistan). We just can’t turn a blind eye to the people who are suffering because of (lack of) diplomatic relations,” the bench said. The court asked the government counsel to consult the union home secretary and file a detailed affidavit as to what is the present status of all the foreigners living in camps by the next date of hearing.

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