Court releases Pakistani woman ahead of Eid

    By IANS,

    New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday ordered the release of a detained Pakistani woman, married a man here and awaiting the outcome of her Indian citizenship application, from a government shelter to celebrate Eid with her family.

    “Considering the fact that the important Muslim festival Eid is round the corner…it would be too asperous on our part to confine the petitioner in isolation, away from her husband, children and even grandchildren, in the beggars’ home on the joyous and much awaited feast of Eid,” said a division bench of Justice Kailash Gambhir and Justice Indermeet Kaur.

    The court ordered the release of Nuzhat Jahan from Nirmal Chhaya complex beggars’ home
    on a habeas corpus plea filed by her husband Mohd. Gulfam, a resident of Kala Masjid in central Delhi’s Turkman Gate.

    The court asked Nuzrat and her husband not to leave the country without special branch deputy commissioner’s permission till a final decision was taken by the Indian government on her citizenship application.

    Nuzhat was sentenced to one week’s imprisonment under the Foreigners Act in May this year and the trial court had ordered her deportation to Pakistan.

    After completion of her jail term, the authorities had shifted her to Nirmal Chhaya beggars’ home.

    “Undeniably, we do not find any justification in detention of (Nuzhat) in a solitary confinement in the beggars’ home…the petitioner had lawfully married Mohd. Gulfam, and was holding a valid passport and valid long-term visa,” the court said.

    “No doubt, the Pakistan authorities did not renew the passport of the petitioner and there is a possibility that on that account, the visa of the petitioner was also not renewed by the Indian government, however, the petitioner did take necessary steps to seek renewal of her passport and extension of her long-term visa.”

    The central government’s counsel Jatan Singh told the court that Nuzhat would have to file an application before special branch, for regularisation of her stay and grant of further extension of her long-term visa and the Indian government would take a decision in accordance with law.

    Nuzrat and Gulfam got married in 1983 when Gulfam went to meet his extended family in Pakistan. She used to come to India on visits for two years, and then got her first long-term visa in 1985. Nuzrat renewed her Pakistani passport in 1988 and then applied for renewal again in 1994.

    The Pakistan High Commission then told her to apply for Indian citizenship, which she did in 1996 which is under consideration since then.