Citing national security, the Bombay high court on Tuesday pulled up the Union and Maharashtra governments for allowing a man from PoK, who claimed to have accidentally crossed into India 17 years ago, to stay on in the country for so long.
"You have registered case against the petitioner in 2009.
We are now in 2012. Trial is still pending. So you (government) have given him (petitioner) licence to stay here," a division bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and A R Joshi said while hearing a petition filed by Siraj Khan seeking his deportation.
"This is a matter having ramifications on national security. What is the state government's policy? How do you propose to handle this situation?" Justice A M Khanwilkar asked.
According to Khan, who claims to be a native of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, he had entered Indian territory in 1995 when he was nine-year-old. He has petitioned the court to direct the government to send him back to PoK.
The bench was o Tuesday informed by the lawyer appearing for the Union government that the state government has not yet forwarded Khan's proposal for deportation to the ministry of home affairs.
"Someone enters the country illegally and you let him stay here? The petitioner has married and already has children. You (government) have let him establish his next generation here," the court said and suggested making offences under the Passport Act non-bailable.
"In this case the petitioner got bail and is now mingling with citizens of this country," the court said.
Directing the Advocate General to appear in the matter, the court asked the concerned department to brief the state's top law officer regarding the government's policy in such matters.
The matter was adjourned for resumed hearing on August 6.