The Foreigners Act 1946 is an Imperial Legislative Assembly Act passed to allow the Interim Government of India some authority in areas about foreigners in India. The Act got passed before India gained independence.
Even before India’s independence, in 1946, the Foreigners Act was passed. So, the Foreigners Act was mainly introduced so that the Government of India could establish a check and control on the admission and leave of foreigners.
Who was considered a “foreigner” in the past?
A foreigner was defined as somebody who did not belong to a specific group or culture and was not a country resident.
If a foreigner enters India without proper documentation, illegally, or for an extended period, the Central Government may make provisions for all foreigners’ departure, presence, or continued presence. And the Government of India may also detain such foreigner until he/she returns to his/her home country. As a result, it defends India’s territory from any unlawful immigrant or refugee.
New sections under Foreign Act 1946
The new sections under the Foreigners Act 1946 include:
Section 1. Short title and extent
Section 2. Definitions
Section 3. Power to make orders
Section 3A. Power to exempt citizens of Commonwealth Countries and others perform from the application of Act in some instances.
Section 4. Persons on parole
Section 5. Change of name
Section 6. Obligations of masters of vessels, etc.
Section 7. Hotel keepers obligation and others to furnish particulars
Section 7A. Power to control places frequented by foreigners.
Section 8. Determination of nationality.
Section 9. Burden of proof
Section 10. Repealed.
Section 11. Power to provide effect to orders, directions, etc.
Section 12. Power to delegate authority.
Section 13. Attempts to contravene the provisions of the Act, etc
Section 14. Penalty for contravention of provisions of the Act, etc.
Section 14A. Penalty for entry in restricted areas, etc.
Section 14B. Penalty for using a forged passport.
Section 14C. Penalty for abetment
Section 15. Protection to persons acting under this Act.
Section 16. Application of other laws not barred.
Section 17. Repealed.
Penalty for Contravention of Provisions for Foreign Act 1946
According to Section 14 of Foreigners Act 1946, the Penalties include:
Suppose any person contravenes the provisions of the Foreigners Act 1946 or any order made of the act, or any direction given in pursuance of this Act or such. In that instance, he will get sentenced to imprisonment for up to five years, as well as a fine.
Assuming that such a person entered into a bond per Clause (f) of Section 3’s sub-section (2). In that scenario, his bond gets forfeited. And anybody bound by it must pay the penalty or show cause why the penalty should not get paid to the satisfaction of the convicting Court.
Penalty for Entering in Restricted Areas
According to Section 14A of the Foreigners Act 1946,
- enters any area in India restricted for his entry made under the Foreign Act 1946, or any direction given in pursuance thereof, without first having the permission of the authority notified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette for the purpose, or remains in such area for a period longer than that specified in such permit for his stay;
- enters or stays in any area in India without the valid documents required for such entry or stay, as the case may be, shall get imprisoned for a term not less than two years but not above eight years, and a fine not less than ten thousand rupees.
Suppose a person entered into a bond in pursuance of clause (f) of sub-section (2) of section 3. In that case, his bond shall get forfeited. And anyone bound thereby shall pay the fine thereof or show cause to the satisfaction of the convicting court who should not pay such penalty.
Case Study Involving Foreigner Act 1946
State of Assam Vs. Liton Kanti Das @ Saurav Das
As an informant, Dilip Sinha, UB Constable/317 of Bazaricherra Police Station, lodged an ejahar on 18.09.16 with the Officer In-charge of Bazaricherra Police Station informing that while on duty at the Lowairpoa tri-junction, he noticed the accused loitering suspiciously.
During interrogation, he identified himself as a Bangladeshi national named Liton Kanti Das @ Saurav Das, Bangladesh. However, he could not produce a passport or other document allowing him to remain in the Indian Territory, resulting in a case.
Following receipt of the ejahar, the officer reported the case under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act of 1946. The culprit was apprehended by police and taken to court.
The Learned Counsel filed a bail plea on his behalf, alleging that he is an Indian citizen denied, and therefore the accused remained imprisoned. Within a short period, the police completed their investigation and filed a charge sheet against the accused. As a result, this Court took cognisance of the police report.
Under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act 1946, a charge was prepared against him.
The prosecution called three witnesses, including the investigating officer, during the trial. Under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the accused got examined.
In India, the Atithi Devo Bhava concept is followed, which embodies the host-guest relationship of treating visitors as if they were gods. Since independence, India has provided asylum to numerous refugees from other nations.
Our cultural and religious diversity enables us to defend the interests of foreigners who visit India regularly. However, many foreigners have been residing illegally in India, either by exceeding the time limit on their visas or by unlawfully entering India’s borders. The Foreigners Act 1946 gets connected to the NRC roundabout and is crucial to India.
Section 3 of the Act empowers the federal and state governments to enact rules and regulations concerning foreigners. The NRC distinguishes between who qualifies to be an Indian citizen and who has been living illegally in India.
With our expanding economy, it is critical to have a clear picture of the number of residents and foreign nationals living in the country and whether their presence is legal or unlawful. Because the resources available to us are limited, it is critical to minimise the possibility of any such rights getting misused before utilising them for the benefit of the residents of India.
Due to the various flaws in the Foreigners Act of 1946, it has failed to fulfil its goal; consequently, it is critical to have a solid law regulating the movement of foreigners in Indian territory.
FAQs Regarding Foreigners Act 1946
Can a foreigner file a case in India?
In India, a foreigner may sue an Indian in a competent court. In India, a foreign corporation can sue an Indian firm in a competent court.
How many days a foreigner can stay in India?
- Foreigners with 10-year tourist/business visas are permitted to visit India as long as their total stay in India during each visit does not exceed 180 days.
- Foreigners of Indian descent have a five-year multiple-entry 'X' visa with the recommendation that "continuous stay shall not exceed 180 days during each visit."
Is IPC applicable to foreigners?
Under Indian law, someone must be accountable. As a result, Section 3 of the IPC applies to any Indian citizen or foreigner governed by Indian law. The offence must be committed outside of India's territorial waters, either geographical or maritime.
Which right is not given to foreigners?
The foreigner's basic right to life and liberty is limited to Article 21. It does not include the right to remain and settle in this nation, as indicated in Article 19(1)(e), which is solely applicable to inhabitants of this country.