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Karnataka HC Releases A Bangladeshi Woman On Bail For The Offence Of Illegal Migration On The Bases Of Amended Citizenship Act

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The Criminal Petition was filed before the High court of Karnataka under sec 439 Cr.P.C praying to enlarge the petitioner/ Smt. Archana Purnima Pramanik on bail for the offence punishable under Sections 5, 12, 14 of Foreigners Act, Section 3(1)(c) of Citizenship Act & Section 465, 468, 471 of IPC was allowed.

Brief facts of the case

The petitioner was alleged that she is a Bangladeshi National and an illegal migrant. She obtained Indian documents like PAN Card, Aadhar Card in her name and on these documents, she fraudulently obtained an Indian Passport. Regarding the same, the complaint was lodged by the Assistant Passport Officer, Bengaluru. Petitioner was arrested on 07.11.2019. The application filed by her seeking release on bail has been dismissed by the LIX Addl. City Civil & Sessions Judge, Bangalore city, by order dated 04.12.2019, on the ground that there is prima facie material to show manipulation of records by the petitioner and that the matter is under investigation and in the event, she is released on bail, she may destroy the records or manipulate the records and may flee from justice.

The petitioner is a Christian by birth and born on 23.03.1983 and her parents took her to a place called Tanore, Rajshahi, Bangladesh. She was baptized on 16.07.1994 at Bangladesh Adventist Seminary and College Church and since she was facing severe harassment from her neighbourhood youth and there were lots of threat of her kidnap, she approached the jurisdictional police at Bangladesh and she was advised to keep low profile and that being the case, after discussing her will and wishes, her parents decided to admit her to India for pursuing a career in Nursing and accordingly, she came to India and took admission in Seventh-day Adventist Hospital, Ranchi in 2003 and completed her Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery in 2006. After completion of the course, she joined a job in reputed hospitals like Wockhardt Hospital and Kidney Institute (Fortis Hospital), Manipal Hospital, Vikram Hospital, Cloud Nine Hospital. In the year 2007-08, she met one Mr.Rajasekaran Krishnamurthy, an Indian citizen and entered into a registered marriage with him in Ranchi on 12.04.2010. After marriage, she moved to Bengaluru in 2010. During her stay in the matrimonial home, she obtained Voters ID Card on 21.07.2012, PAN Card, Aadhar Card and also Indian Passport by providing valid and genuine documents. The authorities issued the above documents after due verification. In April 2019, she applied for Bangladesh Visa for her and her son and during her journey on 20.05.2019, the Immigration Officer at Kolkata illegally detained her and her son at Airport and later she was released from custody. The Regional Passport Office issued a notice for revocation of the passport and that being the case, on 07.11.2019 at 7.30 a.m., all of a sudden, RT Nagar Police arrested her and produced her before the learned Magistrate and she was remanded to police custody till 11.11.2019 and since then, she is in judicial custody.

Decision of the Court

The allegations in the case are that the petitioner has fabricated and manipulated the documents relating to her identity namely Aadhar Card, PAN card and Passport and on the strength of these documents, she has been claiming to be a citizen of India. These allegations require to be established during the trial. Petitioner has taken up a plea that all these documents are lawfully obtained by her after following due procedure and under the said circumstances, in view of the Amendment to the Citizenship Act and there is prima facie material to show that the petitioner has been residing in India since 2002 with her husband and child until the allegations made against the petitioner are established in a full-dressed trial, the petitioner is entitled to be enlarged on bail. In the light of the above facts and circumstances, even the applicability of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 may have to be decided before proceeding against the petitioner. In that view of the matter, the petitioner requires to be admitted to bail subject to conditions.

  1. Petitioner is directed to be released on bail on obtaining a bond in a sum of Rs.2, 00,000/- (Rupees Two Lakhs only) with two sureties for the like sum to the satisfaction of the Investigating Officer.
  2. She shall not indulge in tampering the prosecution witnesses.
  3. She shall co-operate in the investigation and shall appear before the Investigating Officer as and when called for.
  4. She shall not leave the jurisdiction of the concerned Trial Court without prior permission, till the charge sheet is filed or for a period of three months whichever is earlier.
  5. She shall mark her attendance on the 1st and 15th of every calendar month between 10.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. before the Investigating Officer for a period of two months or till the submission of the final report, whichever is earlier. Thus the petition was allowed.

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