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Be cautious about granting medical visas: Karnataka HC to Foreign Regional Registration Officer

The court made the pronouncement while dismissing the petition filed by an Iraqi national.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 21:59 IST

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Bengaluru: The Foreign Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) should handle medical visa applications with care and should not rely solely on opinions from hospitals, the Karnataka High Court has said.

The court made the pronouncement while dismissing the petition filed by an Iraqi national.

The records revealed that the petitioner, Sagad Kareem Ismael, had twice entered India, initially on a student visa and later on a medical visa. He was blacklisted for overstaying.

The petitioner stated that after initial medical investigations in Iraq, he consulted a doctor at Aster CMI Hospital in Bengaluru. The hospital recommended a three-month treatment, extendable based on his condition.

After the FRRO did not consider his application, dated February 22, 2024, he approached the high court. The petitioner executed a special power of attorney (SPA) in favour of a Bengaluru resident, who then filed the petition before the high court. The SPA was executed at Bagdad.

H Shanthi Bhushan, Deputy Solicitor General of India, representing the Ministry of External Affairs and the FRRO, submitted that the petitioner had initially come to India to study Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm), but overstayed for 11 months. It was also argued that under the Powers of Attorney Act, 1882, a foreigner cannot be represented before the high court.

Justice M Nagaprasanna noted that the petitioner had secured a new passport after his medical visa application was rejected owing to his blacklist status. In the new passport, his name was changed from Sajjad Kareem Ismael to Sagad Kareem Ismael.

The court said that since the petitioner was placed in blacklist for overstaying and had been deported on issuance of an exit permit, no relief can be granted.

"The other issue is whether a foreign national can execute a SPA sitting elsewhere in the globe for the purpose of filing a writ petition invoking Article 226 of the Constitution of India. The Power of Attorney is admittedly executed invoking the Powers of Attorney Act, 1882. The Act nowhere permits a foreign national to sit somewhere in the globe, execute a power of attorney invoking the Act and seek to get entertainment of a petition or a case before any courts in India. The petitioner is wanting to do what the Act does not permit him to do,” Justice Nagaprasanna said.

The court further said, "If it were to be such a grave medical emergency as is sought to be projected, it would have been a circumstance altogether different. In the considered view of the court, the projection is pseudo. The petitioner’s projection is not for the first time, but it is for the third time. Lesion in the brain appears to have increased every time or even the reason for illness. Such power of attorneys, which are executed by foreign nationals invoking the Act, cannot be recognised and is sans countenance. Finding no merit in the petition, the petition stands rejected.”

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Published 20 June 2024, 21:59 IST

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