Patna HC quashes FIR against Lebanese citizen

Patna HC quashes FIR against Lebanese citizen
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Patna: The Patna High Court has quashed an FIR lodged against a Lebanese citizen for allegedly entering Indian territory two years ago without a valid visa.

The court directed the Centre and the Bihar government “to take immediate steps and pass necessary orders for deportation” of Fadi Fadel, who was arrested in Sitamarhi on July 7, 2016, when he had unwittingly entered Indian territory while on a trip to Nepal.

The Lebanon resident had gone to Nepal as a volunteer to help the victims of the earthquake that had devastated the Himalayan country the previous year.

A case was subsequently lodged against Fadel at Sitamarhi police station under the Foreigners Act and IPC sections relating to forgery and criminal conspiracy.

A division bench comprising Justice S Kumar and Justice Ravi Ranjan passed the order yesterday, allowing the petition of Fadel.

It quashed the FIR “as well as whole proceeding arising out of the said FIR” and said “no offence” was made out against the petitioner.

The court was of the view that the petitioner had entered India by mistake and he ought to have been sent back to Nepal but instead an FIR was registered against him on the basis of unfounded allegations and he was remanded to judicial custody.

“The credentials of the petitioner were known and he had a valid Lebanese passport and visa for staying in Nepal and power to deport a foreign national who has entered Indian territories without valid visa has been delegated by central government to state government and without deporting petitioner to his native country or Embassy at New Delhi, an FIR was registered against him under Indian Penal Code and Foreigners Act and he was sent to prison,” the court observed.

“Subsequently, the petitioner has been released on bail by Patna High Court and sent to embassy with a condition that he would be attending the trial in Sitamarhi where he will have to attend on all dates when the case is fixed for trial,” the court noted.

“The only reason for which the petitioner could not be deported to his native country was on account of pendency of this criminal case and with the same being quashed there is no impediment to deporting the petitioner to his native country through its embassy at New Delhi where he is staying after grant of bail,” the court said.

The court also directed the Centre and the state government to take steps for the petitioner’s deportation “in consultation with the Embassy of Lebanon at New Delhi forthwith preferably within four weeks from date of receipt/production of a copy of this order”.

PTI