Mumbai: Observing that it was not right to confine a foreign national, who is without a valid passport and visa, in a police station for a long period, the Bombay High Court directed the Satara police to arrange alternate residence for an Iranian national till he is deported.
A division bench of Justices PV Hardas and PN Deshmukh was last week hearing a petition filed by Iranian national Sheriyar Rashid Shanasa, challenging a June 03, 2011 order passed by the Satara police prohibiting him from moving out of Wai police station in Satara.
Shanasa, who had moved to India in 1986, was arrested in 2007 under the Foreigners Act by the Satara police after it was found that his passport and visa expired in 2001 and he has been living in the country illegally.
A local court in 2009 had convicted Shanasa and sentenced him to two years in jail. The court had directed for Shanasa to be deported to Iran after his release.
On June 2, 2011, Shanasa was released from jail after completion of his imprisonment. A day later, superintendent of Satara police issued an order prohibiting Shanasa from leaving Wai police station till his departure to Iran. Since then Shanasa has been living in the police station.
Additional Solicitor General Kevic Setalvad told the High Court that Shanasa was not cooperating with the police in handing over documents required to initiate deportation.
While the High Court held that the police had the authority to pass such a prohibitory order, it, however, observed that confining a person in a police station for such a long time was not in keeping with human dignity.
"We find that there is a power to issue the restrictive order. But we are concerned with the fact that since last two years the petitioner is made to reside in a police station. By no standards can a police station be considered a place of residence and no exception can be made even in the case of the petitioner who is residing in India illegally," the bench said.
"We are quite conscious of the fact that at the police station the petitioner would be deprived of the basic amenities and facilities and his continued stay in the police station cannot be said to be in keeping with human dignity," the court said.
It has directed the police to ensure within eight weeks that arrangements are made for the residence of the petitioner in Satara.