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Delhi HC’s Judgment on Foreigners’ Right to Reside in India

Why is it in the news?

  • Delhi High Court in a recent judgment stated that foreigners cannot claim the right to reside in India under Article 19(1)(e) of the Constitution.

 More about the news

  • The judgment emerged from a habeas corpus petition filed by a man concerning the alleged unlawful detention of his nephew, Azal Chakma, suspected to be a Bangladeshi national.
  • However, the Delhi HC dismissed the petition, asserting that foreigners do not have the right to reside and settle in India under Article 19(1)(e). Foreigners’ fundamental rights are limited to the protection of life and liberty under Article 21.
  • The bench clarified that the scope of the petition was confined to habeas corpus relief, and there was no indication that Azal Chakma’s detention was deemed illegal.
  • It also emphasized that movement restrictions were imposed to facilitate deportation, not deemed unlawful.
  • Further, it cited the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hans Muller of Nurenburg Vs. Superintendent, Presidency Jail, Calcutta which highlighted the absolute power of the Indian government to expel foreigners, with no constitutional provision restraining such discretion.

 Relevant Constitutional Articles

  • Article 19(1)(d): Ensures the right to move freely within the country, including the right to use roads and highways.
  • Article 19(1)(e): Affirms the fundamental right of every citizen to reside and settle in any part of India.
  • Article 19(5): Allows reasonable restrictions on the right to freedom of movement and residence for the interests of the general public or the protection of any Scheduled Tribe.
About Illegal Detention

·       It is the unjustifiable imprisonment occurs through arrest without proper cause, leading to unlawful deprivation of liberty and continued restriction of freedom.

·       The Constitution provides a remedy for unlawful police detention through the filing of a habeas corpus petition under Article 32 or 226.

·       Habeas Corpus serves as a crucial remedial measure, swiftly addressing and rectifying illegal detention. It ensures the protection of individual rights and acts as a deterrent against arbitrary arrests, upholding the rule of law.

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