Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Madras High Court orders notice to State on habeas corpus petition

The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday ordered notice to the State on a habeas corpus petition filed by a 60-year-old man alleging that his son was wrongly detained under the Foreigners Act, 1946.

In his petition, P. Karuppa Thevar, said that his son K. Sasikaran (21) was detained by the State under Section 3 (2) (e) of the Foreigners Act on November 29, 2012, after he allegedly attempted to run away from a Sri Lankan refugee camp in Tirupur to migrate to Australia illegally.

According to the petitioner’s counsel T. Lajapathi Roy, the petitioner and his parents were originally living in Sri Lanka for several decades.

In 1974, after an agreement between the Indian and the Sri Lankan governments, the petitioner and his parents were issued passports acknowledging them as Indian citizens.

“Thereafter, the petitioner settled in Jaffna for the sake of his business, but continued to be an Indian citizen. In 1996, Mr Karuppa Thevar, along with his children, moved to India because of the war. He left his passport in Jaffna and on reaching Rameswaram, he was sent to the Mandapam refugee camp as he could not explain his case to the authorities,” contended the counsel.

The petitioner and his family members lived in Hosur, Dharmapuri and Tirupur as Sri Lankan refugees before Mr Sasikaran, a tailor, allegedly tried to go to Australia. In 2012, Mr Sasikaran was taken into custody by the Q-Branch police and the inspector of Kanyakumari police station.

He was later booked under Section 3 (2) (e) of Foreigners Act, 1946 by the State.

“Mr Sasikaran is an Indian citizen. Hence, his detention under the Foreigners Act is illegal. Even assuming that he is a foreigner, the impugned order of detention infringes his right to life and liberty as he was not given an opportunity of hearing. The petitioner’s son is innocent’, the counsel contended.

He pleaded that the detention order should be quashed. A division bench comprising Justices S. Rajeswaran and T. Mathivanan ordered notice to the State and adjourned the case by two weeks.

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