CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has held that foreign nationals living in India can enjoy the benefits provided under Article 21 of the Constitution only as long as they respect the law of the land.
Dismissing anticipatory bail applications of two South Korean leaders of a private company near Chennai that is facing GST evasion charges, Justice M Dhandapani said, “...it is clear that foreign nationals, while they are guests on our soil so long as they are bound by the laws of the land and are following the same, any infraction of the laws would not give them any leverage to claim the benefit of Article 21 of the Constitution.”
All laws to safeguard the life and liberty of individuals are only for people who respect, abide and follow the said laws, and the said leverage is not for people who flout the laws for their gain to the detriment of the nation and its growth, he added.
The judge also said a few foreign companies are trying to erode the economic stability of the country under the guise of starting businesses and enjoying concessions offered by the government. The anticipatory bail applications were moved by Choi Young Suk, managing director (MD), and Choe Jaewon, general manager (GM), Chowel India, which manufactures spare parts for vehicles. Both were held in 2019 for GST evasion and remanded at the Puzhal Central prison. Later, they were lodged at the Foreigners Detention Camp in Tiruchy. Then, they were allowed to be confined at their residence with security, following an order of the Supreme Court.
The present case was filed by the Palur police in Chengalpattu district for cheating and forging documents under Sections 420, 468, 471, 224 and 511, among others, of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on a complaint lodged by their driver on charges of attempting to flee the country using forged travel documents. Fearing arrest, they filed an application for anticipatory bail, which the court dismissed.