Court throws out Immigration Service over Indian businessman’s permits
Attempts by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to halt the restoration of the residence and work permits of an Indian businessman, Mr Ashok Kumar Sivaram, as ordered by the Accra High Court have been dismissed by the court.
On September 18, 2017, the court gave the Comptroller-General of the GIS, Mr Kwame Takyi, a seven-day ultimatum to restore the residence and work permits of the businessman after the GIS had failed to do so despite another High Court’s ruling that quashed Mr Sivaram’s deportation.
Mr Takyi and the Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, represented by the Attorney-General (A-G), had filed an application for a stay of execution of the court ruling pending an appeal at the Court of Appeal.
But the presiding judge, Mrs Justice Naa Adoley Azu, in a ruling on Friday, held that granting the application would deny Mr Sivaram his right to defend his business interests which were currently before the courts in the country.
In that regard, the court held that Mr Sivaram would suffer undue hardship as he would be under the mercy of the GIS with the threat of a deportation.
“The application is designed to return the respondent (Sivaram) to the status of illegal immigrant thereby denying him the right to defend his legitimate business interests,’’ Mrs Justice Azu said.
According to the court, the GIS would not suffer any hardship if the application was denied as the Court of Appeal had the power to overturn the High Court’s decision in the event the appeal succeeds.
A-G’s arguments dismissed
Moving the application, a senior state attorney, Ms Jasmine Armah, argued that if the September 18, 2017 ruling was not put on hold pending the appeal at the Court of Appeal, it would be a direct interference in the work of the GIS.
The court, however, rejected that argument, stating that the GIS was a statutory body and, therefore, not above the law.
The order, it held, was to compel the GIS to perform a duty it had failed to do after the deportation order against Mr Sivaram was dismissed by the High Court on July 31, 2017.
“The mandamus order did not grant an indefinite resident and work permits for the respondent (Sivaram), but rather to restore him to his former status,’’ the presiding judge said.
Ms Armah also argued that if the stay of execution was not granted, it would serve as a bad precedent for people to use the law courts to acquire visas and resident permits.
The court was, however, of the opinion that the ruling would rather set a precedent that courts in the country dispensed justice without fear or favour and also the Judiciary was an independent body.
It also rejected another point by the state attorney that the dismissal of the application would pose a security risk to the country.
“No evidence was provided to support this claim,’’ Mrs Justice Azu held.
Counsel for Mr Sivaram, Mr Gary Nimako Marfo, in his submission, described the application as highly incompetent and prayed the court to dismiss it.
He argued that the applicants failed to demonstrate any circumstance to warrant a stay of execution and also his client ought to be in the country to defend himself during the appeal at the Court of Appeal.