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Petition Filed In Delhi HC Challenging Deportation Of Iraqi Refugee; Notice Issued

Apoorva Mandhani
22 Jan 2018 1:44 PM GMT
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The Delhi High Court, on Monday, issued notice to the Centre demanding documents pertaining to the deportation of a 25 year old Iraqi woman in September last year.

The notice was issued by Justice Rajiv Shakdher on a petition filed by a woman who had travelled to India in May, 2011 on a student visa with her sister and had then enrolled herself in Jamia Hamdrad University. After completing her degree, she sought refugee status in India from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the same was accorded to her in 2016. However, she was enrolled with the same University for an M.Pharm degree when she was unexpectedly deported, along with her sister, without any hearing or explanation. She was also denied an Indian visa on the ground that she had been black-listed.

She has now approached the High Court with a Petition that claims to "brings to light a colorable exercise of power bristled with bias, arbitrariness and a display absolute brazenness".

She contends that she was not involved in any illegal activities in India and had regularly updated the Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO), which is the primary agency that regulates extension of stay in India, of her whereabouts. The deportation has, therefore, been contended to be "completely arbitrary and in a manner absolutely inconsistent with the principles of natural justice".

She has further asserted that her deportation to a country that she fled due to a "well-founded fear of persecution" endangers her personal safety. This, she submits, is violative of not just Article 21 of the Constitution of India, but also of provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She also alleges violation of the principle of ‘Non-Refoulement’, that prohibits the deportation of refugees to a country where they face threat to their life.

The petition goes on to point out that she would lose out on her post-graduate degree if she is not allowed to return. Furthermore, it submits that the actions of the Government violate the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for dealing with foreign nationals who claim to be refugees. The SOP, it says, stipulates that the cases which are prima facie justified on the grounds of well-founded fear of persecution can be recommended by the FRROs to the Ministry of Home Affairs for grant of Long Term Visa after due enquiry. It, therefore, demands that the impugned order be quashed as being illegal and unconstitutional.

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