HC dismisses US national's plea against deportation

HC dismisses US national's plea against deportation

Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a 29-year-old US national against his deportation from India, noting that he is not an "innocent victim" and violated terms of his visa.

The petitioner, Joshua Sadagursky, sought to quash and set aside a notice issued to him on May 2018, ordering for him to be deported to the US.

He also sought reimbursement of USD 2,000 spent by him to buy a ticket back to America following his deportation.

Sadagursky also sought an order from the high court, restraining the Bureau of Immigration, India, and the Foreign Regional Registration Office, Mumbai, from obstructing or preventing his entry into the country.

A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and G S Patel, while dismissing his petition on Monday, noted that there were multiple violations of the visa terms and Sadagursky had overstayed in India twice in the past.

"Far from being an innocent victim, we see a person who has repeatedly entered India, yet kept from the petition all details of his past visits; has more than once violated the terms of his visa, and not disclosed these in his petition," the court said.

It said the petitioner's violations include not only overstaying the maximum permissible period but also engaging in activities that were clearly forbidden as he had come to India on a tourist visa.

The court refused to accept Sadagursky's argument that the authorities cannot deport him without first issuing him a show cause notice and giving him a hearing.

The provisions of the Foreigners Act make it clear that the civil authority at a port of entry has the discretion to refuse entry to any foreigner, that is to any person who is not a citizen of India, the bench noted.

Last month, the court, while hearing the petition, noted that Sadagursky could not claim an entitlement to stay in the country just because he is from the United States.

Sadagursky was deported from the Mumbai airport on May 2018 after the authorities realised he had breached his previous visa terms by overstaying in India and by taking up employment in the country through his visa did not grant such a permission.

During his last visit to India between 2017 and 2018, he overstayed and delayed approaching the Foreigner Regional Registration Offices concerned after his visa expired.

Sadagursky, who is now in the US and has not returned to India since filed a plea in the high court challenging his deportation.

In his plea filed through his counsel Birendra Saraf, he argued that his deportation was "arbitrary" and he wasn't granted a fair hearing.

The petitioner also argued that he merely worked for an NGO in India and taught underprivileged children here, and therefore, such an engagement could not be considered as employment.

The court, however, refused to accept this argument. 

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