Why I converted 1-month executive visas to 5-year judicial visas                        

Justice Markandey Katju-


When I was a Judge of Allahabad High Court, a large number of writ petitions were filed before me by Pakistani nationals who were on a 1-month visa to India, and when this period expired, were served with deportation orders by the Indian authorities for not going back to Pakistan.

They challenged these deportation orders in the High Court, and in all these cases I gave a months’ time to the govt to file a counter affidavit, and passed this interim order ” The petitioner will not be deported till further orders “.

In substance this meant that the 1 month executive visa granted by the External Affairs Ministry of the Indian Government had been converted into a 5 year visa by my judicial order, because in view of the heavy pendency of cases in the Allahabad High Court ( about a million ), a case in which some order was passed would next be listed after about 5 years. In the meantime, my interim order would continue.

Why did I do this? I can reveal the secret now since I have retired.

Most of these Pakistanis who came on 1 month’s visa to India were old people in their 60s or 70s. They were mohajirs, or persons who had migrated in their youth from India in 1947 or so in their emotional zeal to become part of an ‘Islamic Republic’ or out of fear of being persecuted in India on account of their religion. But many had left behind relatives, and in the evening of their lives wanted to return to the land of their birth and live with their brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, etc.

Their plight has been described in vivid detail by the great Indian Urdu poet Munawwar Rana in his book ‘ Mohajirnama ‘ e.g.

” Mohajir hain, magar him ek duniya chhod aaye hain ”

In poignant verses which bring tears to one’s eyes he writes :

” Bhateeji ab saleeke se dupatta odhti hogi

Wahi jisko jhoole mein humakta chhod aaye hain ”


” Moharram mein hamaara Lucknow Iran lagta tha

Madad Maula Husainabad rota chhod aaye hain ”

” Gale multi huin nadiyaan, gale milte hue mausam

Allahabad ka kaisa nazaara chhod aaye hain ”

Many of these mohajirs have their ancestors’ graves in India, and would like to have their own graves too near their ancestors’. They wanted to spend the rest of their life in the land of their youth, where many relatives and friends were still living. So naturally they wanted to stay on.

Now I have never accepted Partition of India, and have repeatedly said that it was a historical British swindle (see my article ‘ The Truth about Pakistan ‘ online). I regard Pakistan as a fake, artificial country, which is part of India, and will definitely be one day reunited with India under a truly secular government (not the Akhand Bharat of the RSS which implies a Hindu dominated India). See in this connection the Mission Statement and Addresses to the Indian Nation on indianreunificationassociation.co.in.

So I regard all Pakistanis as Indians. It follows that when a Pakistani comes to India, it is really an Indian who has come to India. How then can he be deported from India?

Of course, I did not say this in my orders, but this was really what was in my mind while passing such orders.


[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.]