Mumbai The Bombay High Court (HC) has come to the rescue of an Overseas Indian Citizen (OCI), who was refused entry into the country after being found in possession of child pornography material at United States of America (USA) .
A divisional bench of Judge SV Gangapurwala and Judge RN Laddha allowed the US resident to visit his elderly parents in Mumbai, observing that he had ‘never been charged with committing a sexual offense with a child’ and that he had “also been on probation (in the United States).”
The US resident had asked the high court to ask the central government to remove his name from the list of people banned from entering the country and declare the travel restriction imposed on him illegal.
He said that although he moved to the United States in 1990 and settled there, his elderly parents – a 93-year-old father and an 88-year-old mother – continue to live in Mumbai. Previously, he had made several trips. However, on August 31, 2018, when he reached Mumbai airport, immigration did not allow him to enter the city and he had to return to the United States without meeting his parents.
He was told that the central government had blacklisted “morally depraved” people and his name was included in the list, as he was charged with possession of child pornography material in the United States in 2012. Subsequently, in June 2013, he pleaded guilty. in Rhode Island Superior Court. The court, he said, accepted his plea and ordered him to serve five years probation, maintaining his suspended five-year prison sentence.
He said that in July 2018, his release plan was released by the State of Connecticut, certifying that he had “successfully completed sex offender treatment” and that he had “not done the subject to further arrests or violations”.
The petitioner claimed that in the meantime – between his prosecution and India’s travel ban, he had visited the city numerous times – in June 2013, three times in 2015, once in 2016, 2017 and even at the beginning of 2018, but had been abruptly stopped. to enter the city on August 31, 2018.
His attorney, Barrister Mayur Khandeparkar, argued that the US resident was denied entry to India based on a wrong premise. “The petitioner was found in possession of child pornography. He was never charged or accused of engaging in any activity with a child,” the lawyer had said, adding that “as such, the assertions of the respondent (central government) were wrong. “.
The court accepted his claim. “There would be a distinction between possessing child pornography and engaging in sexual activity with a child,” the bench said while allowing its plea to be added.
The bench also took into consideration the exceptional facts that the claimant had to travel to Mumbai to meet his former parents and that he had undertaken not to stay in India beyond four to six weeks from the entry date. Visitation would be limited to tending to her sick parents, their needs, for medical and other purposes.
In this context, the court ordered the central government to allow him to visit the city for a month in December this year, and then whenever he wished to see his elderly parents, on condition that he undertake to each time in the same direction with the government.