OCI, guilty of possessing child pornography in US, allowed to visit elderly parents | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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OCI, guilty of possessing child pornography in US, allowed to visit elderly parents

Sep 17, 2022 07:03 PM IST

A division bench of justice SV Gangapurwala and justice RN Laddha allowed the US resident to visit his elderly parents in Mumbai, observing that he was “never accused of engaging any sexual offence with a child” and was “also given the benefit of probation (in the US)”

Mumbai The Bombay high court (HC) has come to the rescue of an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), who was denied entry into the country after he was found in possession of some child pornography content in the United States of America (USA).

The US resident had moved the high court seeking directions to the central government to delete his name from the list of people who had been banned entry into the country and for a declaration that the travel restriction imposed on him was illegal (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The US resident had moved the high court seeking directions to the central government to delete his name from the list of people who had been banned entry into the country and for a declaration that the travel restriction imposed on him was illegal (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A division bench of justice SV Gangapurwala and justice RN Laddha allowed the US resident to visit his elderly parents in Mumbai, observing that he was “never accused of engaging any sexual offence with a child” and was “also given the benefit of probation (in the US).”

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The US resident had moved the high court seeking directions to the central government to delete his name from the list of people who had been banned entry into the country and for a declaration that the travel restriction imposed on him was illegal.

He said though he moved to the USA in 1990 and settled down there his elderly parents - 93-year-old father and 88-year-old mother – continue to live in Mumbai. Earlier, he had made several trips. However, on August 31, 2018, when he reached the Mumbai airport, the immigration did not allow him to enter the city and he had to return back to the USA without meeting his parents.

He was told that the central government had blacklisted people who are “morally depraved” and his name was included in the list, as he was charged for possession of child pornography material in the US in 2012. Subsequently, in June 2013, he pleaded guilty before the superior court in Rhode Island. The court, he said, accepted his plea and ordered him to undergo probation for five years, keeping his five-year prison term under suspension.

He said in July 2018, his discharge plan was issued by the state of Connecticut, certifying that he had “successfully completed Sex Offender Treatment” and had not “picked up any new arrests or violations.”

The petitioner contended that in the meanwhile – between his prosecution and the travel ban in India, he had visited the city on numerous occasions – in June 2013, thrice in 2015, once in 2016, 2017 and even in early 2018, but was abruptly stopped from entering the city on August 31, 2018.

His counsel, advocate Mayur Khandeparkar, submitted that the US resident was denied entry into India on the wrong premise. “The petitioner was found in possession of child pornography. He was never charged or accused of engaging in any activity with a child,” the lawyer had said, adding that, “As such, the contentions of the respondent (Central Government) were erroneous.”

The court accepted his contention. “There would be a distinction between possessing child pornography material and engaging in a sexual activity with a child,” the bench said while allowing his plea for added.

The bench also took into consideration the exceptional facts that the petitioner had to visit Mumbai for meeting his old parents and that he had given an undertaking that he will not stay in India beyond four to six weeks from the date of entry. The visit would be restricted to attending to his ailing parents, their needs, medical and such ancillary purposes.

Against this backdrop, the court directed the central government to allow him to visit the city for a month in December this year and subsequently whenever he wanted to see his elderly parents, on a condition that he would every time give a similar undertaking to the central government.

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