Bengaluru: The number of foreign nationals overstaying in India, has always been a cause for concern. Neighbouring countries Pakistan and Bangladesh top the list. There has also been a gradual rise in the stay of foreign students from Sri Lanka, Iraq, Iran, Tanzania, Oman and Kenya.
In one such case, a 39-year-old citizen of the Islamic Republic of Iran, had approached the High Court, seeking directions to the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Officer, to extend the ‘stay’ visa of the petitioner till the completion of his studies in Bengaluru and to also hand over all his original documents.
But after the court received information that the student who had got admission for the B.D.S. course at the Vakkaligara Sangha Dental College and Hospital, Bengaluru, in 2002, had overstayed and is still completing his degree for the past 14 years (the outer limit to complete the dentistry course is eight years), has now refused to extend his visa.
The student’s advocate said that his client’s visa period expired in the year 2015 and that the conduct of the student has been without any blemish and he has not done anything warranting the rejection of his request for the extension of his visa.
He also said that the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences has permitted the student to appear for the fourth year of the B.D.S. course. The petitioner additionally stated, that the student has booked his ticket to fly back to Iran.
He is asking for extension of his visa period, or for him to be granted an exit visa on humanitarian grounds.
However, Krishna S. Dixit, the Assistant Solicitor General, has stated that the student has not disclosed in his writ petition, the reason why he has not completed his B.D.S. course even after 14 years.
He further complains of suppression of material facts by the petitioner. His visa was extended on five occasions to enable him to complete his B.D.S. course.
It was also submitted that the petitioner was a foreigner and has over-stayed after the expiry of the visa period, so has become an offender in the eyes of the law. As per Section 14 of the Foreigners’ Act, 1946, the petitioner is liable to be imprisoned for five years.
“No cogent explanation is forthcoming, as to why the petitioner has not completed the 5 years of the B.D.S. course, but has taken about 14 years... Just because the RGUHS has granted the permission to the petitioner to appear for the fourth year examination in the 14th year of the petitioner’s studies for the B.D.S. course, the petitioner cannot claim extension of the visa period as a matter of right,” the court observed.
As far as the student’s request for the issuance of an exit visa is concerned, the court said that it is not even the subject matter of this petition.
“As far as launching the prosecution against the student for over-staying in the country is concerned, it is again for the concerned authorities to take a call on the same considering the petitioner’s conduct and the background and antecedents of his case,” the court said, while disposing of the matter....