Foreign students cannot claim visa extension as a right, says HC

Foreign students cannot claim visa extension as a right, says HC

The High Court of Karnataka has ruled that the student from Iran who has not completed BDS even after 14 years cannot claim extension of visa period as a matter of right.

The court recently said, “Just because Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Health Sciences (RGUHS) has granted permission to a foreign student to appear for fourth year examination in the 14th year of the student’s studies of Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) course, the student cannot claim extension of visa period as a matter of right.”

Alireza Hikematnia, 39, has approached the court seeking directions to the Foreign Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) to extend his ‘stay visa’ till he completes his study.

Alireza’s counsel Shivakumar said that the RGUHS issued the hall ticket and permitted him to appear for the fourth year of the course.

Assistant Solicitor General (ASG) Krishna S Dixit, appearing for FRRO, argued that Alireza has not disclosed as to why he has not completed his BDS course even after 14 years, though BDS course is only for four-and-half to five years.

He said that the student took four years to complete first year, three years each to complete his second and third year and is doing his fourth year for the past four-and-half years. FRRO had extended his visa on five occasions to enable him to complete his course.

The ASG submitted that the student is a foreigner and has overstayed after the expiry of visa period and has become an offender in the eyes of law. Under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946, the student is liable to be imprisoned for five years.
While disposing of the petition, Justice Ashok B Hinchigeri said that there is no cogent explanation as to why the student has not completed the course even after 14 years.

The bench said that it is open to the student to make appropriate application for grant of exit visa and up to the FRRO to consider the same in accordance with law.

It is for the FRRO to take a call to prosecute the student for overstaying depending on his conduct, background and antecedents. There was no reason why the authorities should resort to prosecution just at the drop of the hat, the bench observed.

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