Court gets draft guidelines to protect detained foreigners

The guidelines for protecting the rights of foreign nationals detained in India were submitted Tuesday before acting Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta, who asked the government to respond on them by April 6.

Prepared by amicus curiae (friend of the court) Arvind K. Nigam, the guidelines suggest that after the detained foreign national's acquittal if the authorities prefer to appeal against the court order, they should do it at the earliest.

“The possible legal remedy may be availed as soon as possible and the agency should not wait till the last date of the prescribed period of limitation,” Nigam said.
“The investigating agency must ensure that the foreigners are detained for as short time as  possible before their deportation," the guidelines said.

“Since the jail authorities are aware of the probable dates of the release of foreign nationals undergoing sentence, the authorities accordingly (can) intimate them in advance and also give them permission to access their consulates so that travel documents can be prepared in advance for their deportation,” the guidelines state.
The detained persons should also be given basic amenities, including food, drinking water, sanitary living conditions, clothing, medical aid. They should also be allowed meetings with family, friends and legal representatives, Nigam said.

On the last date of hearing, the court pulled up the government for not deporting a Pakistani national who was acquitted by a trial court three months ago but is still languishing in the foreigners' detention camp here.
Last year, 11 detained foreigners wrote a letter to the court complaining about poor living conditions in deportation camps. They complained about shortage of drinking water and poor quality food. The court took the letter as a public interest litigation and initiated legal proceedings.

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