Writ Petition filed to provide Assistance to an Indian citizen held in Foreign Custody


Nuzaifa Beevi vs. Ministry of External Affairs & Ors. This case was filed by the petitioner before the Honble High Court, Ernakulam seeking legal aid for her daughter. Here the petitioner's daughter was working as a domestic help in Dammam, Saudi on account of difficult economic conditions. But the problem was that she was made to work with hardly any rest and was not even allowed to take any leave. Later her family got an alliance from Dammam itself but the owners were very reluctant to send her back to India and even insisted that the marriage be conducted in Saudi itself, but somehow with great difficulty she came back to India and her marriage was solemnized on December 2011. After her marriage she was reluctant to go back to Saudi and got a job in Kuwait. Later when she left for Kuwait with her husband she was arrested by the Interpol. That was when she got to know that her employers at Dammam had registered a false allegation against her for theft soon after she left and because of this she had to undergo a punishment for not conforming to the exit entry visa regulations and also was punished with one year imprisonment and 150 lashes as per the public law of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She did not have any option to effectively redress the issue in a legal manner as she was not in a position to appoint a lawyer and even after seeking assistance from ministry of external affairs for her release no action was taken in that regard. Thus the petitioner invoked the jurisdiction of article 226 of the Constitution of India under the following grounds: That her daughter has been in custody in a foreign country without any legal aid or help. Despite being innocent an allegation of theft was made on her as per the public law of the land. Despite making requests for the accessibility to legal assistance no action was taken on the same by virtue of article 21 which establishes right to life and personal liberty. By virtue of article 39A which states that, the state should ensure operation of legal system for equal justice and free legal aid so that no citizen is denied justice due to poor economic conditions. RELIEFS CLAIMED: To issue a writ of mandamus directing the respondent to provide legal assistance to the petitioner's daughter who is under the custody of Saudi Arabian Authorities. To award costs to the petitioner. To issue any other writ, declaration or order as the course may think fit. Any other relief deemed to be fit. Status: The petition is pending in the courts.