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The Delhi High Court Monday summoned the Customs commissioner for an explanation on why foreign nationals are languishing in deportation camps despite their acquittal in cases filed against them.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta asked the commissioner of Customs to appear before the court Tuesday.

The court also asked the government to clear its stand over the draft guidelines which suggest that detained foreign national should not be kept in custody for long by Indian authorities after he/she is acquitted by a court.

Prepared by amicus curiae Arvind K. Nigam, the guidelines suggest that if the authorities prefer to appeal against the detained foreign national’s acquittal by the court, they should do so at the earliest.

“The investigating agency must ensure that the foreigners are detained for as short a time as possible before their deportation,” the guidelines said.

On the last date of hearing, the court pulled up the government for not deporting a Pakistani national who was acquitted by a trial court three months ago but is still languishing in the foreigners’ deportation centre here.

Last year, 11 detained foreigners wrote a letter to the court complaining about poor living conditions in deportation camps. They complained about shortage of drinking water and poor quality of food served. The court took up the letter as a public interest litigation and initiated legal proceedings.

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