New Delhi: A Delhi court has upheld the conviction of a Pakistani national, residing here since 1973 and seeking Indian citizenship, for overstaying in the country without any valid visa from 1993 to 2002.
While upholding Rafiq Ahmed`s conviction for violation of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, Additional Sessions Judge Narinder Kumar, however, spared him the additional jail term on the ground that he had got his visa extended after 2002 and that he had applied for Indian citizenship.
The court spared him additional jail term, modifying his six-month imprisonment awarded by the magisterial court to one month and 11 days that he had already undergone during trial.
Rafiq was apprehended from near Turkman Gate in old Delhi on May 30, 2002 and was found to be without any valid visa.
His counsel told the court that he had come to India with his mother and continued to stay here after her mother passed away. He said the accused even got married here and had children. The court was also informed that his visa was extended from time to time.
The court noted that his visa was extended from time to time and was last extended till July 1993. He was then issued notice, the last being on May 21, 2002 intimating him that his visa has expired on July 10, 1996.
His counsel told the court that he had got his visa subsequently extended till 2006 and for the period prior that, he had already paid a penalty. The ASJ said, "Accused appellant being a Pak national was duty bound to return to Pakistan on expiry of visa which was granted up to July 10, 1996. But he did not return to Pakistan.”
"He also did not get his visa extended after July 10, 1996, and as such, as rightly submitted by the prosecution as on May 30, 2002, when he was apprehended by the police, he was staying in India without any valid visa.”
"Therefore, the magistrate has rightly held the accused guilty for offence under Section14 of Foreigners Act."
The court, however, modified his jail term to the period already undergone in custody, "having regard to factum of extension of his visa subsequently, that he remained in custody for a period of one month and 11 days during investigation, inquiry and trial”.
The court also noted that "he has deposited a fine of Rs 5,000 imposed by the trial court and that the government has extended his visa for stay in India from time to time and his application for grant of citizenship of India is still pending."