The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed an FIR against three Ugandan nationals accused of extortion saying that Article 21 of the Constitution guaranteeing the right to life and personal liberty was applicable to foreigners also.
Counsel for the petitioners Manali Singhal told a Bench of Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi that the impugned FIR was manifestly malafide and was an abuse of the process of law .
She also told the Bench that the Mumbai Police had wrongly impounded the passports of the Ugandan nationals -- Isaac Isanga Musumba, advocate and Kampala’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (2006-2011); Mawanda Michael Maranga, an MP and Magoola Matthias, a businessman.
Article 21 of the Constitution states “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”
And Singhal told the Bench, “The lookout circular which had been issued against the three Ugandans was another coloured exercise of police powers smeared with malice, ill-will and grossly spiteful, prejudicing thereby the fundamental and human rights of the petitioners.”
Justice Patnaik, while trashing the extortion charge said,”Mumbai Police, instead of protecting the liberty of the Ugandan nationals acted on the basis of the FIR,” he observed and directed the release of the Ugandans’ passports.