The rights of a foreigner in India

The rights of a foreigner in India has also been considered by the Supreme Court in relation to Article 19 and it was held that Article 19(1)(d) and (e) are unavailable to foreigners and no provisions of Article 14 can be invoked to obtain the fundamental right to a foreigner as held by the Supreme Court in State of Arunachal Pradesh v. Khudiram Chakma reported in 1994 Supp (1) SCC 615 and in paragraph 75, it was observed as follows :

“75.It is true that fundamental right is available to a foreigner as held in Louis De Raedt v. Union of India2: (SCC p. 562, para 13) The next point taken on behalf of the petitioners, that the foreigners also enjoy some fundamental rights under the Constitution of this country, is also of not much help to them. The fundamental right of the foreigner is confined to Article 21 for life and liberty and does not include the right to reside and settle in this country, as mentioned in Article 19(1)(e), which is applicable only to the citizens of this country. As such Articles 19(1)(d) and (e) are unavailable to foreigners because those rights are conferred only on the citizens. Certainly, the machinery of Article 14 cannot be invoked to obtain that fundamental right. Rights under Articles 19(1)(d) and (e) are expressly withheld to foreigners.

Even the judgment of Maneka Gandhi’s case (cited supra) is only referable to Article 19(1). Even there the Supreme Court held that the right to travel abroad by the Indian citizens itself is not the fundamental right and is subject to restrictions.

in Gobind V. State of Madhya Pradesh and another reported in AIR 1975 SC 1378 : (1975) 2 SCC 148, had struck a note of caution and in paragraph 28, it was observed as follows:

“28.The right to privacy in any event will necessarily have to go through a process of case-by-case development. Therefore, even assuming that the right to personal liberty, the right to move freely throughout the territory of India and the freedom of speech create an independent right of privacy as an emanation from them which one can characterize as a fundamental right, we do not think that the right is absolute.”

If this is the right which is available to the Indian citizen, it is unthinkable the petitioner who is admittedly a foreigner seeks to set aside the LOC issued against him especially in the context in which the respondents have started LOC against him. Under section 11 of the Foreigners Order, 1948 it was stated as follows:

“11.Power to impose restrictions on movements, etc.- The civil authority may, by order in writing, direct that any foreigner shall comply with such conditions as may be specified in the order in respect of-

(1)his place of residence;

(2)his movements;

(3)his association with any person or class of persons specified in the order; and (4)his possession of such articles as may be specified in the order.”

Besides this, under the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and the rules known as the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1992, rule Nos.5, 6(1) and 7(3) reads as follows:

“5.Report by foreigners on arrival in and departure from India by land- Every foreigner who enters or leaves India by land shall, on being required so to do by the Registration Officer of the place of arrival or departure, as the case may be, furnish to him a true statement of the particulars set out in Form D.

6.Report by a foreigner of his address in India, etc.- (1)Every foreigner entering India or resident in India shall present in person or through an authorised representative to the appropriate Registration Officer specified in rule 7, a report (hereinafter referred to as a registration report) within the time specified in that rule:

Provided that no such report shall be necessary in the case of a foreigner who enters India on a visa valid for a period of not more than one hundred and eighty days and who does not remain in India beyond the said period.

7(3)Every foreigner presenting a registration report shall furnish to the Registration Officer such information as may be in his possession for the purpose of satisfying the said officer as to the accuracy of t he particulars specified therein and shall, on being required to do sign the registration report in the presence of the said officer and shall thereupon be entitled to receive from the said officer a certificate of registration in Part III of Form A: