Report No. 175
10. The Foreigners (Amendment) Bi11, 1998
10.1 The Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the said Foreigners (Amendment) Bill, 1993 points out that the Foreigners Act, 1946 does not c1assify the vio1ations of its provisions or orders or directions issued under it. It just prescribes a sentence of imprisonment up to five years and fine for the contravention of its provisions whi1e the quantum of punishment for various offences is 1eft to the discretion of the court. Moreover, the accused persons often managed to obtain bail under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) despite such cases being cognizable, non-bailable and triab1e by the first c1ass magistrates under the Act. Keeping in view these deficiencies, the Bill seeks to achieve the fo11owing objectives:
(i) to classify the offences,
(ii) to provide punishment according to the gravity of the offence committed, and
(iii) to enhance the punishment.
10.2 Provisions of the Bill
(i) The Foreigners (Amendment) Bill, 1998, proposes to substitute the original section 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946, with sections 14, 14A and 14B. The proposed section 14 imposes pena1ty of imprisonment up to five years and fine on a person who contravenes provisions of the parent Act or any order or direction under it, remains in India with or without valid passport exceeding the period of valid visa or violates the conditions of valid visa. It further provides for the forfeiture of the bond, if any, and also the payment of penalty by the person bound by the bond unless such person satisfies the court otherwise.
(ii) The proposed section 14A imposes a pena1ty of imprisonment up to eight years but not less than two years and fine 'up to Rs. 50,000 but not Iess than Rs.10,000 on a person who enters into a restricted area without obtaining permission from the competent authority or who stays beyond the permitted period or enters into or stays in India without va1id documents required under the provisions of any order made under the Act or directions given in pursuance of the order.
It also provides for the forfeiture of bond executed by him for the due observance of any prescribed or specified restrictions in pursuance of the Act. Section 14B proposes to penalise those persons who abet any offence punishable under sections 14 and 14A, with the same punishment as the offence itself. 'Expianation' in section 148 clarifies that an act or offence is said to be committed in" consequence of the abetment, when it is committed in consequence of an instigation, or in pursuance of the conspiracy, or with the aid which constituted the offence.
A higher punishment prescribed in proposed sections 14A and 148 would consequently enable the courts of sessions to try the offences and provide an opportunity to state Governments to oppose bail applications under the Criminal Procedure code (CrPC). The last two sections. namely, 14A and 14B contemplate minimum imprisonment and fine for entry into restricted areas and other areas and the abetment of this offence. 'The punishment by way of imprisonment and fine has also been enhanced to eight years with fine upto Rs.50,000/-.