Mumbai: Observing that a young girl cannot be left stranded in another country, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday ordered the immigration bureau to issue her a fresh visa so that she could travel back to Mumbai.
The girl is stranded in Dubai following the directive of the Union government to cancel all visas till April 15, 2020, because of the global coronavirus outbreak.
A bench of Justices Shahrukh Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla noted the fact that the girl (19) was stranded in Dubai after she was disallowed from boarding her 'connecting' flight to Mumbai.
The girl, who is an overseas citizen of India (OCI) was compelled to book tickets to Mumbai as the administration of the Tufts University, Boston, USA, had asked all the students to vacate the premises owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
However, after she reached Dubai well before the time the government's advisory was enforced, the airline staff debarred her from boarding the flight, leaving her stranded at Dubai.
“The airline staff should not have denied her boarding on the strength of the advisory.
Neither could the authorities here, deny her a visa and leave her stranded at Dubai away from her family,” the judges said, while concluding that the airline staff misinterpreted the advisory of the union government.
The bench further noted that the girl can now travel back to India only after she receives a fresh visa, which can be issued only for compelling reasons.
“She was wrongly denied boarding by the airlines to go to Mumbai. She is 19 years old and is stranded in Dubai with none of her family present with her.
She is now unable to return to her university in Boston, U.S.A. as the university has directed the students staying on campus to vacate the campus and return to their permanent residence,” Justice Kathawalla noted.
The bench further noted that the girl has completed her preliminary education in India and has been living in Mumbai until August 2019, when she flew to USA for further studies.
“Looking at all the factors placed before us, we clearly feel that a compelling case has been made out for granting her a visa to return to Mumbai to be with her family,” the bench said.
“This in fact ought to have been done by the Indian Diplomatic Commission itself but, unfortunately, they did not accede to her request. Thus, the authorities are directed to issue a fresh visa to the girl, forthwith so as to enable her to come to Mumbai and be with her family,” Justice Kathawalla added.