Delhi HC seeks Centre's stand on plea by American journalist against blacklisting
Counsel for journalist Angad Singh told the court that they got to know about the "blacklisting" only after the Centre filed its response to his plea challenging the entry refusal
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought the Centre's stand on the alleged "blacklisting" of an American journalist who was earlier denied entry into the country in spite of being an OCI card holder.
Counsel for journalist Angad Singh told the court that they got to know about the "blacklisting" only after the Centre filed its response to his plea challenging the entry refusal.
Without going into the merits, Justice Prathiba M Singh allowed the petitioner, who produces documentaries for Vice News with a focus on Asia, to also assail his "blacklisting" in the ongoing proceedings and ordered, "Let counter affidavit to amended petition be filed in four weeks."
The Centre had earlier told the court that the petitioner had been blacklisted despite being an OCI card holder for misrepresenting facts in the visa application for obtaining a journalistic visa and violating certain norms.
Central government counsel Anurag Ahluwalia on Tuesday said that a "journalist visa" is required for carrying out "journalistic activity" and any video prepared by such a person has to be first approved by the consulate before its publication.
The lawyer said the authorities have not initiated any proceeding against the petitioner as of now and urged the court to permit him to state the Centre's stand in the response.
Last month, the Centre had submitted that the petitioner, who was deported from Delhi to New York in August last year, had depicted India in a "negative manner" in the "India Burning" documentary.
In the petitioner, Singh challenged the action of refusing him entry in India as illegal and violative of Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.
He also challenged the refusal to grant him a 'special permit' "further to his application made on September 22, 2021".
He submitted that he is an OCI card holder which was issued to him initially in March 2007 and was renewed later in August 2018.
Singh said he had applied for permission to shoot a documentary in India in January 2020 for Republic Day celebration and other events and was issued a permit. However, since he could not visit immediately, he again applied for second permission which was granted to him on January 30, 2021.
In 2021, he again applied for a special permit to cover some event and interviews which was rejected.
In respect of his application regarding the rejection, no response was received by Singh. Thereafter, he applied for shooting a food show in September 2021 and was rejected permit for it.
The plea said that in August last year, the petitioner wanted to travel to India on a personal visit as he has roots in the country and also has relatives here. However, he was not permitted to enter India on arrival and was deported back.
The Centre, in an affidavit filed by the FRRO, has stated that the petitioner is a "blacklist subject" and was blacklisted at the instance of Consulate General of India in New York.
The affidavit claimed that the petitioner had misrepresented facts in the visa application for obtaining a journalistic visa in 2020 and had published a documentary titled "India Burning" which depicted India in a very negative manner.
The matter would be heard next on May 17.
Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram
Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines