Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Why can’t Irani national be allowed to go to Thane, High Court asks state government

A division bench was hearing a petition filed an Iranian national who is under a restriction order imposed by the state government through the FRRO, which limits his travel out of the city limits.

Written by Radhika Ramaswamy | Mumbai |
February 7, 2017 3:42:44 am

The Bombay High Court on Monday sought to know from the state government what apprehensions it had in allowing a 65-year-old Iranian national living in Mumbai to go to Thane to visit or live with his ailing mother. A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Shalini Phansalkar Joshi was hearing a petition filed by Reza Abdullateef Saboonchi, an Iranian national who is under a restriction order imposed by the state government through the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO), which limits his travel out of the city limits. The petition has sought a relief on the restriction so that he could shift base from Mumbai to Thane.

According to the petition, Saboonchi and many who are part of the Iranian Shia community had been living in India by retaining the passports of their originating country. He was arrested by the Dongri police in 2009 over a dispute with the Iranian mosque trust on charges of cheating and under relevant sections of the Foreigners Act.

Subsequently, his passport was returned but there was a restriction order imposed on him – restraining him from moving out of South Bombay, pending trial. In 2012, this restriction order was relaxed and he was allowed to travel within Greater Bombay after a representation was made in court.

According to the petition, while Saboonchi lives in Dongri, his 90-year-old mother lives in a house in Thane and she is wheelchair-bound, is suffering from cancer and needs to be frequently taken to a hospital in Mulund. “It is pertinent to bring on record that the house in Thane is just 15 minutes away from the outer limit of Greater Bombay,” reads the petition. Despite making several representations, the state government through FRRO has rejected Saboonchi’s plea to shift to Thane with his mother. The petition also said that since Saboonchi has properties in Mumbai and its outskirts and since his entire family has been living, studying and working in the city, the chances of him fleeing are bleak and it is for a justified reason that he is seeking to live in Thane.

The counsel representing the state told the court that since there is a case going on against the petitioner under the Foreigners Act, he shouldn’t be allowed to move out and that there is a possibility that he could flee. However, the court was not very convinced with this and asked the state government why it had an issue in granting permission for the petitioner to move to Thane, which is just a few minutes away from the outer limits of Greater Bombay.

“If the apprehension is that he would flee, he can flee from the limits of Mumbai as well. Thane is just a few minutes away from the city limits, then why this restriction when the reasoning is justified,” asked More. The court told the state government to make a submission as to why there is an apprehension among authorities in sending Saboonchi to Thane, at the next hearing.

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