The Calcutta High Court on Thursday stayed the Centre’s notice asking a Polish student, whose visa was cancelled, to leave India for participating in a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, The Hindustan Times reported. In his petition before the High Court, Kamil Siedczynski on Wednesday sought a restraining order against the Centre and a recall of its order.
The notice, issued last week by the Foreign Regional Registration Office, asked Siedczynski to leave India within 14 days, for participating in “anti-government activities” contravening visa rules. Siedczynski is a student of comparative literature at Jadavpur University and has also been translating several Polish works into Bengali. The student has appealed to the Foreign Regional Registration Office, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, to reconsider its decision.
The order passed by Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, refrained the government from deporting Siedcynski till March 18, when the court will pass an order on the student’s petition.
The student’s advocate, Jayanta Mitra, told the High Court on Thursday that Siedcynski was “persuaded” to accompany other students of Jadavpur University to an event in the New Market area of Kolkata on December 19. Siedczynski claimed he did so unwittingly and out of curiosity, and added that it was a peaceful protest attended by people from all sections of society. The student said he soon got separated from the crowd and stood on the side as a mere onlooker.
Mitra alleged that the notice issued to Siedczynski was “arbitrary and contrary to principles of natural justice and violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution”. The lawyer said Siedczynski was not given a reasonable opportunity to be heard before the notice was issued.
Opposing the Polish student’s appeal, the central government, however, told the court that being a student visa holder, a foreigner cannot challenge a law passed by the Indian Parliament. Central government lawyer Phiroze Edulji claimed that a foreigner cannot challenge Article 19 of the Constitution, as it was not applicable to him. Edulji added the notice was served on Siedczynski by the Foreign Regional Registration Office on the basis of a field report.
The Polish student expressed remorse for attending the demonstration and said he had realised his “mistake”. His counsel said he is in the final semester and his examinations are scheduled to be completed by August 2020.