The Foreigners Act, 1946

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The Foreigners Act has been enacted on 23rd November 1946. This Act has been established to enforce a law relating to the legal status and protection of immigrants. This Act has also had an intention to resolve immigrants’ problem as a whole with solution oriented methodology.

This Act conferred several powers to the Central Government in pursuance to the entry of foreigners or immigrants, their presence in our Country and in regard to their departure. The main objective of this Act is to endow with recommending, regulating and restricting a foreigner amongst other things their presence and their continuous presence in India.

As per this Act a foreigner cannot enjoy or visualize any kind of Fundamental Guarantees or Fundamental Rights though he is entitled to Equality before Law and Equal protection of Laws guaranteed from our Constitution of India. The Central Government was provided with wide and enormous powers considering the presence of foreigners in India is contagious in all aspects and allows the Government to make any number of Provisions in this matter as it may deem fit and necessary. The Central Government also enjoys a lot of discretionary powers in pursuance to this matter.

The Central Government shall pass any number of Orders or provision in general to the foreigners or in particular to a foreigner or any specific types and descriptions of the foreigner in pursuance to this Act and its subject matter. This Act clearly conditioned that the foreigner should come to India only at the specified period, specified routes to a specified place, etc, by following such other conditions made by the Central Government vis-à-vis a foreigner should not depart without following the above conditions forced by the Central Government for their arrival.

This Act provides and prohibits with numerous conditions through the Central Government by making him available or departs or to shift from one area to another within and outside our Country as and when it required. The Central Government may at any time shall maybe ought to require to furnish any particulars or documents for verification and shall make him available at any place for any purpose at any time as and when it is necessary in pursuance to this Act.  The Central Government shall take any legal actions against him for any unlawful Acts done by him. This Government provided several regulations to deal with the internees who are in parole.

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No foreigner shall be allowed to change his name when he is resided in India. In case if any foreigner comes to the port, the Master of the Vessels must disclose or furnish all the necessary details of the foreigners who comes or goes from India. Likewise in case of Aircraft, Pilot is responsible to furnish all the necessary particulars of any foreigners on demand by any legal officers not less than Superintendent of Police or such other Officer who are legally bound to get particulars of the foreigners. Court feels that it is the obligation of the master or pilot or a hotel keeper, etc, to furnish all the necessary particulars of the foreigner who are staying or stayed. They have onerous liability to do so.

This Act confers one of the mandate powers to control places that are used by any foreigner or foreigners more often. That may include a restaurants, public resorts or clubs, etc.  They can also prevent and restrict their frequent usage of the places in order to safeguard the refugees. Any aggrieved person within thirty days shall go for an Appeal to the Central Government and the decision shall be final.

The nationality of the foreigner has to be ascertained as per this Act. In case of uncertainty in citizenship of the foreigner then his birth nation will be considered as a nationality. The burden of proof will lie with foreigner to prove that he is not the foreigner who comes under the purview of the restriction made by the Central Government.

In case if any foreigner acts in contravention to this Act shall be penalized with imprisonment and fine, etc, as prescribed by this Act. No legal proceedings shall be initiated against any person who has done in good faith in pursuance of this Act. This Act never be derogations to any other Act being in force.

This Act has been repealed and amended by the Repeal and Amendment Act, 1950. Though this Act penalized the illegal entry and exit of the foreigners, they failed in concern with legal status of the foreigner and to protect the refugees from arbitrary arrest and harassments. This made to enact the Foreigners (Amendment) Act, 2004.

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by C.Srivenkatesh Prabhu