The Centre on Friday told the Delhi High Court that YouTube vlogger Karl Rock has been blacklisted for violation of visa condition and was conducting business on spouse visa.
“He has been blacklisted for visa violation. Let me file a status report. He was conducting business on spouse visa.”, counsel for the Centre, advocate Anurag Ahluwalia told a bench of Justice Rekha Palli.
The court was hearing a petition by Manisha Malik, the wife of the vlogger, challenging the Centre's alleged "arbitrary and unreasonable" decision to deny visa to her husband to enter India.
The court said that while grant of visa was the prerogative of the Centre, it has to be reasonable and be communicated to the party.
“You may be justified but they have to know. It is the prerogative of the government but they have to be justifiable,” the court said while issuing notice to the Centre on the petition and granted three weeks'' time to it to file its response.
If there is any confidential information, it is open to the Centre to furnish the same in a sealed cover, the court added.
The Counsel for Malik, advocate Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi informed the court that his client received no word from the government on the denial of visa and while exiting India in October last year, the visa was simply stamped “cancelled without prejudice”.
"I asked for an extension and instead they gave me an exit permit," Ayyubi stated.
He added that during his stay in India, the vlogger even donated plasma twice after recovering from COVD-19.
The matter would be heard next on September 23.
In her petition, Malik has submitted that her husband, Karl Edward Rice, visited most of India to capture its beauty and contribute to the promotion of tourism here.
The plea said since their marriage in 2019, the couple has been living in Delhi and Rice has not been able to return to India from New Zealand since October 10 last year.
"The petitioner's husband, Karl Edward Rice, has a dual nationality New Zealand and Netherlands and has been visiting India since 2013 strictly abiding by the laws of the country and the conditions of visa.
"During the entire period since 2013, while the petitioner's husband has been granted Indian visa on various occasions, there hasn't been even a single allegation against the petitioner's husband," the plea said.
Subsequent to their marriage, Rice was granted an X-2 Visa (meant for spouse/children of an Indian citizen) which had a validity period of May 2019 to May 2024 and one of the conditions in the visa for him was to exit India every 180 days or to intimate the Foreigner Regional Registration Office concerned.
"Complying with the aforesaid condition of exiting the nation, while Rice left India on October 10, 2020, he has not been able to return to India because any application for issuance of an Indian visa is being rejected by the respondents.
"While the petitioner has been running from pillar to post and no reasons are communicated to either Karl Edward Rice or to the petitioner herself as to on what basis her husband's request for issuance of visa have been rejected," the petition said, adding that Rice was only verbally informed that he has been blacklisted and therefore he is not permitted to enter India.
The plea sought direction to authorities to call for records pertaining to cancellation of visa and unilateral blacklisting of Rice and also sought to review or quash the decision blacklisting him and allow him entry to India.
As an alternative, the plea sought to direct the authorities to grant a meaningful hearing to the couple on the sudden blacklisting of Rice.