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Law

Delhi HC Seeks Centre's Stand on Anthropologist Filippo Osella's Plea Challenging Deportation

Osella, a scholar who has published books about Kerala, had arrived in Thiruvananthapuram to attend a conference on March 24. But he was deported to his home country without being given any explicit reason.

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New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday sought the Union government’s stand on a plea filed by UK-based anthropologist Filippo Osella challenging his deportation from Kerala in March this year.

Osella, a scholar who has published books about Kerala, had arrived in Thiruvananthapuram to attend a conference on March 24. But he was deported to his home country without being given any explicit reason.

According to LiveLaw, Justice Yashwant Varma granted time to the Union government’s counsel appearing to obtain instructions and posted the matter for further hearing on October 12. The respondents in the plea are the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Bureau of Immigration (MHA) and FRRO, Thiruvananthapuram.

Osella’s plea says his deportation is unconstitutional and arbitrary because no reasons were given to him to date, despite various representations made.

“Reasons were disturbingly absent in this high-handed and arbitrary conduct of the Immigration authorities at Thiruvananthapuram airport. By 4:30 AM, the Professor was literally marched back and bundled into the same aircraft, in which he had arrived and was unjustly deported – much like a hardened criminal,” the plea adds.

Osella, a professor of anthropology and South Asian Studies at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Sussex in the UK, sought directions to call for the records which led to his deportation. His deportation should also be quashed, the plea says.

Osella never faced any immigration issues during his previous visits to India, the plea says, adding that he was never involved in any unlawful activities in his entire life.

“Since the authorities not only denied entry without any reason at all but also did not provide any reasonable opportunity to the Petitioner to present his side. The whole process was vitiated by duress and actuated by arbitrariness. This also falls foul of Wednesbury’s principles of reasonableness and fairness in administrative action,” the plea states, according to LiveLaw.

Osella has conducted extensive research on social and cultural transformations in Kerala over the last 30 years.

In July this year, award-winning architect and scholar Lindsay Bremner was deported from the Chennai airport despite having a valid passport and visa. The authorities only cited “immigration issues” as the reason but did not elaborate.