Visa offences in India

Tourist is defined as “a foreigner having no residence or occupation in India, whose stay in India does not ordinarily exceed six months, who has no other object in visiting India, than recreation, sightseeing or attending, in a representative capacity, meetings convened by the Government of India or International bodies or any other meeting or conference cleared by the Government of India.” Rule 2(j) of the Registration of Foreigners Rules is not a penal provision at all. It only defines who a tourist is. The purport of this definition is to guide and tell the concerned authority as to who can be considered as a tourist, and also, when, or for what all purposes a tourist Visa can be issued. It is argued that if any tourist wants to attend any meeting, it must be a meeting convened by Government of India or any International Body. Rule 2(j) of the Rules only guides and tells the authority that if any foreign national wants to come to India for attending any “such” meeting in a representative capacity he can be issued a valid visa. The definition covers only such meetings convened by the Government of India or International Bodies.

What is in fact made punishable under Section 5 of the Registration of Foreigners Act is violation of any Rule made by the Government under Section 3 of that Act. Section 3 of that Act provides the subjects on which Rules can be made by the Central Government. Such Rules may provide for

(a) for requiring any foreigner entering, or being present in, India to report his presence to a prescribed authority within such time and in such manner and with such particulars as may be prescribed;

(b) for requiring any foreigner moving from one place to another place in India to report, on arrival at such other place, his presence to a prescribed authority within such time and in such manner and with such particulars as may be prescribed;

(c) for requiring any foreigner who is about to leave India to report the date of his intended departure and such other particulars as may be prescribed to such authority and within such period before departure as may be prescribed;

(d) for requiring any foreigner entering, being present in, or departing from India to produce, on demand by a prescribed authority, such proof of his identity as may be prescribed;

(e) for requiring any person having the management of any hotel, boarding-house, sarai or any other premises of like nature to report the name of any foreigner residing therein or whatever duration, to a prescribed authority within such time and in such manner and with such particulars as may be prescribed;

(f) for requiring any person having the management or control of any vessel or aircraft to furnish to a prescribed authority such information as may be prescribed regarding any foreigner entering or intending to depart from, India, in such vessel or aircraft, and to furnish to such authority such assistance as may be necessary or prescribed for giving effect to this Act;

(g) for providing for such other incidental or supplementary matters as may appear to the Central Government necessary or expedient for giving effect to this Act.”

Refer :Rules or under the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 or the Foreigners Act 1946.