Fundamental Rights of a Foreigner in India

Foreigners Act confers power on the Central government to expel foreigners from India. This power with the Central Government is absolute and unfettered. There is no provision in the Constitution fettering the discretion of the Central Government.

In Louis De Raedt v. Union of India and Ors., , it was held that the Fundamental rights of a foreigner are confined to Article 21 for life and liberty and do not include the right to reside and settle in this country. The Constitution Bench in Central Bank of India Ltd. v. Ram Narain had also turned down right of Foreigners’ to move freely in India saying:-

“Article 19 of the Constitution confers certain fundamental rights of freedom on the citizens of India, among them, the right “to move freely throughout the territory of India” and “to reside and settle in any part of India” subject only to laws that impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of those rights in the interests of the general public or for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe. No corresponding rights are given to foreigners. All that is guaranteed to them is protection to life and liberty in accordance with the laws of the land. This is conferred by Art. 21 which is in the following terms:

“No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”

 In Anwar v. The State of J & K., and Nand Lal Bajaj v. State of Punjab, this position was reasserted.

Article 19 of the Constitution of India, which is not a right available to a foreigner. The only right available to a foreigner is the protection of life and liberty in accordance with the laws of the land conferred by Article 21 of the Constitution. As such, in our view directions prayed for cannot be issued.