6-year-olds detained at airport, govt to pay Rs 10L

A city court has ordered the Centre to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to two children who were "illegally" detained at the IGI Airport for over 20 hours in January 2010 and denied information as to the reasons for their detention.

The case pertains to twins Rumit and Alisha, six years old then, who had landed at the Delhi airport with their mother and two older siblings. They were stopped from exiting, though their family members were allowed to go.

The petition claimed that on January 31, 2010, the twins had landed at the IGI airport from Germany at 11 pm. The Assistant Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (AFFRO) at the IGI airport had stopped the children on the ground that the twins, who are German citizens of Indian Origin, were trying to enter India in less than two months of their earlier visit to India.

The children who were separated from their mother claimed that they were not provided food or sanitation facilities during their detention.

The twins filed a petition in a Delhi court demanding Rs 10 lakh as compensation for "their illegal detention, inhuman treatment, mental and physical harassment as well as the loss of money of their parents in making frequent visits to them in India after the incident."

Noting that the MHA rules "nowhere mandates the AFRRO to deport a foreigner immediately after his arrival to India", Additional District Judge Vinod Yadav allowed the plea for compensation, and has observed that "keeping small children away from their parents is violation of their rights".

The children, who were at the time enrolled as KG students at the Dalhousie Public School, Himachal Pradesh, were returning to school after visiting their parents in Germany. The court observed that the father had filed RTI applications to find out what laws had been violated, but had not been given any reply on the grounds that RTI was available only to Indian citizens.

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