A Polish student, who was asked by authorities to leave India for allegedly participating in an anti-CAA rally, moved the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday seeking a restraining order against the Union government and a recall of its directive.
Kamil Siedczynski, the student from Poland who is enrolled for a Masters' degree in the Department of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University, was served a "Leave India Notice" dated February 14 from the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office (FRRO), Kolkata.
In his petition before the high court, the student prayed for restraining the authorities from giving effect to the notice, which asked him to leave India within 14 days of its receipt.
The notice alleged the petitioner was engaged in anti-government activities in violation of visa rules, a charge the student has denied.
The student's lawyer, Jayanta Mitra, submitted before the court that on December 19, 2019, while on an outing, he was persuaded to accompany other students of Jadavpur University to an event in the New Market area of the city. Claiming that he did so unwittingly and out of curiosity, Jayanta Mitra submitted that it transpired that the event was a peaceful protest held by different sections of people.
He claimed that the student soon got separated from the group and stood on the sidelines as an onlooker.
The student claimed he was asked a few questions by a person, who also clicked his photograph, and it later transpired he was a photojournalist of a Bengali daily, where his photo and some related news was published. Mr Mitra claimed that some statements had been wrongly attributed to Kamil Siedczynski in the report.
Mr Mitra claimed before the court of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya that the order, which was communicated to the student on February 24 when he went to the FRRO on being asked to, was arbitrary and contrary to principles of natural justice and violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
The senior lawyer submitted that the petitioner was neither afforded a reasonable opportunity of being heard nor was he formally informed about the specific charges against him prior to the issue of the notice.
He submitted that it is not in consonance with India's obligations and is in derogation from the principles enunciated under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (1966), which are applicable to all people. Kamil Siedczynski, who is from Szczecin in Poland, has been studying in India since 2016. He had obtained post graduate diploma in Sanskrit from Visva-Bharati on scholarship before enrolling for the course at Jadavpur University. His counsel said he is in the final semester and his examinations are scheduled to be completed by August 2020.
According to the petition, the Polish citizen also gave a representation to the FRRO praying for reconsideration since he had only four months left to complete his full-time Masters'' programme at the university.
Kamil Siedczynski expressed "remorse" and said he had learnt a lot from his "mistake" and gave an undertaking that he will not repeat it.
The hearing was adjourned for the day and will resume on Thursday when lawyers for the Union of India and FRRO will present their arguments.