New Delhi, Jun 13 (PTI): The Supreme Court today said that there was a need to impose stricter punishment on those infiltrating into the country from neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh.
"Considering the large number of infiltrators who come to India without valid document, there is a need for imposing stricter sentence," a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and P P Naolekar observed, while dismissing the appeal filed by a Pakistani infiltrator Habib Ibrahim.
The bench rejected the plea of Ibrahim that he had illegally entered India to meet his wife and children in Jaipur and was ignorant of the country's immigration laws.
"Appellant's (Ibrahim) feeble plea that he did not know that he is required to be in possession of valid document is without substance. Otherwise, he would not have obtained any transit visa for Nepal," the apex court observed.
Ibrahim was arrested by the Rajasthan Police on January 13, 2004 at Vidhadhar Nagar Bus Stop. He was found to be in possession of a Pakistani Passport and an expired Nepalese visa, but he did not have any documents (visa) to justify his presence in the country.
A sessions court in Jaipur convicted Ibrahim under Sections 3 read with Section 14 of the Foreigners Act and sentenced him to five years imprisonment besides a fine of Rs 25,000.
The Rajasthan High Court dismissed his plea and upheld the conviction and sentence following which he filed the appeal in the apex court. PTI
Also read the related stories in TIMES OF INDIA as follows:
No leniency towards foreigners without valid papers, says SC
15 Jun 2008, 0320 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN
NEW DELHI: Alive to the huge problem of illegal migrants and infiltrators, the Supreme Court has warned that foreigners found without valid travel documents would not be shown any leniency by the judicial forums in imposing sentences.
Coming across a case where a Pakistani travelled to Nepal on a tourist visa before slipping into India and staying in Rajasthan till he was caught in Jaipur, a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and P P Naolekar said: "Considering the large number of infiltrators coming to India without valid documents, there is need for imposing stricter sentence."
It dismissed the appeal of one Habib Ibrahim of Karachi, Pakistan, who had challenged a Rajasthan High Court judgment that upheld the trial court verdict slapping a five-year prison term on him for staying in India illegally.
Ibrahim was arrested by the Jaipur police on January 13, 2004, at Vidhyadhar Nagar bus stand as he mentioned on inquiry that he is a resident of Gali No. 3, Mullah Allah Dadlen Gobol Road, Liyari, Karachi.
The police had recovered a Pakistani passport, which had a tourist visa to Nepal valid for six months, along with Nepalese, Bangladeshi and Indian currency from the house where he was staying in Vidhyadhar Nagar.
Ibrahim had pleaded with the Supreme Court for leniency saying that he had come to meet his wife and children residing in Jaipur and that he had already undergone three years and nine months imprisonment for the offence under the Foreigners Act.
The Bench rejected the plea. "The only plea to justify his presence was that he had come to visit his wife and children. That does not gove any right to him to stay illegally in India."
"As rightly observed by the courts below, Ibrahim had been issued a transit visa, that too for Nepal for a period of six months. There was no valid document in his possession to stay in India. Therefore, Section 3 read with Section 14 of the Foreigners Act have been rightly applied. The conviction, therefore, cannot be faulted," it said.
"So far as the sentence is concerned, considering the large number of infiltrators coming to India without valid documents, there is need for imposing stricter sentence," said Justice Pasayat, writing the judgment for the Bench.
Foreigners Act, 1946 at helplinelaw.com