Indian high court pulls up officer for deporting man to Sri Lanka

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The Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) is in the dock as the Madras high court has summoned him to personally explain as to why he deported a man of Sri Lankan origin – but born and brought up in India – to Sri Lanka after he returned from Australia where he was denied asylum.

Questioning the rationale behind deporting S Anand to Colombo, a division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice Abdul Quddhose rejected the officials’ claim that Anand entered Australia illegally by a boat seeking asylum, but after it was denied he ‘fraudulently obtained’ an Indian emergency certificate from the Indian embassy in Melbourne.

“If the asylum application of Anand was rejected by the Australian government, he would not be allowed to move out of the refugee camp/asylum seekers camp and there is no scope for the asylum seekers to come out of the camp. Therefore, prima facie it is doubtful as to whether the asylum application of Anand was rejected, as contended by the authorities,” the judges said.

They were passing orders on a habeas corpus petition filed by Anand’s father K Sundar Lingam who escaped to India in 1987 at the height of ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka. Anand was born at Thirumala Devasam Medical College and Hospital, Alappuzha district, Kerala, in 1992. He completed his schooling from a private school in Redhills, Chennai. In 2013, he went to Australia, but returned to India on October 27, 2018. He was detained by the Indian immigration authorities and deported to Sri Lanka. Flaying the FRRO, the bench said: “If the petitioner’s son had fraudulently obtained an Indian emergency certificate from the Melbourne Indian embassy claiming to be an Indian national and travelled to India, the usual course should be to send him back to the country from where he had travelled. However, surprisingly, the authorities had sent him to Sri Lanka, after informing the Sri Lankan embassy and obtaining an emergency certificate. When the petitioner’s son was born and brought up and educated in India and he has got no connection at all with Sri Lanka, it is not known why the authorities deported the petitioner’s son to Sri Lanka.”