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Shri Kranti & another Vs Union of India & Ors

Date : 16/07/2010

The Foreigners Act 1946 gives the Indian Government “powers in respect of the entry of foreigners into [India], their presence therein and their departure therefrom”. In the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the act has been used to hold largely poor fisherman in conditions that are in contravention of Human Rights and International conventions.

Case Details and Status

Due to their country’s geographical proximity to India and strong sea currents, foreign nationals, mainly poor fishermen, have been found and arrested in Indian territorial waters. They are tried and convicted under the Foreigners Act 1946 and held, pending repatriation, at what is commonly referred to as the Open Prison/Poachers Camp, adjacent to the Central Prison at Prothrapur.

The camp currently houses more than 380 foreign nationals, of which over 75 are children. The facilities provided to them are in contravention of human rights and international conventions. Violations transgress the detainees’ right to food, health, education, movement and employment. Their misery is compounded by the abuse they suffer from their caretakers.

In response, the foreign nationals have resorted to hunger strikes to bring attention to their grievances. For example, during August 2006, over 350 were on hunger strike at one time.

In 2006, HRLN filed a PIL relating to the conditions under which the detainees are held, including beyond the completion of their sentences. The High Court, Calcutta disposed of the application on the grounds of lack of concrete material showing “callous indifference on the part of the administration”. However they admitted the petitioners have the right to apply again for future redress.

The matter is now pending before the Supreme Court.

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