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Court refused to order Visa extension to Foreigner who wished to stay in India: Kerala High Court

BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE: The petitioner, Mr. Johnny Paul Pierce, an American National, came to India, on a tourist visa, on 26.2.2020. His visa was valid till 26.1.2025. The petitioner got stranded as the country went into a lockdown due to the COVID – 19 pandemic.  Since he wished to explore the country, he wanted to return to the US to convert his tourist visa to a business visa, and then return to India. As per the  policy guidelines issued by the Government of India in respect of e-visa, the petitioner was permitted to stay only up to180 days in one visit.  Therefore , although the visa was valid for five years, the petitioner had to leave India on or before 24.8.2020. The petitioner, 74 years old, suffered from various ailments. Comparing the death rate in both the countries, the petitioner claimed that he felt safer in India during the pandemic.  

JUDGEMENT: The Court held that it cannot entertain the plea of the petitioner to extend the stay for a further period of six months. The court remarked that the grant and extension of visas to foreign nationals fell exclusively within the domain of the Government of India. Before he left the US, the petitioner was well aware of the conditions in the visa. The court directed the 2nd respondent to consider the representation submitted by the petitioner, strictly in accordance with the guidelines/regulations/policies of the Government of India, and dispose of the same as expeditiously as possible, within a period of two weeks.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – AMRUTHA K

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