The foreign couple forced to stay back in the country after the customs department challenged their acquittal in the Supreme Court, failed to get relief from the Bombay High Court on Monday.
The couple was arrested in 2000 by the customs department after hashish was found in their baggage while leaving the country.
A division bench of Justice P.B. Majmudar and Justice R.G. Ketkar refused to grant work visas to Singapore national Zainab Yousuf (57) and her Japanese husband Tetsyo Hiryama (62) who had approached the HC seeking maintenance since they are unable to take up job here.
However, the court has asked the government to consider giving them free medical aid in any government hospital as Yousuf is suffering from cancer.
“We are concerned about your bread and butter as far as it is possible within law,” said Justice Majmudar adding that they cannot interfere since the SC has restrained them from leaving the country till their appeal is decided.
The HC has granted liberty to the couple to approach the SC for additional benefits or modifications in the order. “You can ask the SC to allow you to go to your country till the appeal comes up for hearing provided you give an undertaking that you will come back,” said Justice Majmudar.
Ayaz Khan and Nilufer Sayed, advocates for the couple, asked the HC to direct the government to frame guidelines for filing appeals in cases within stipulated time. The court turned down the request.
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act court convicted the couple to 10 years rigorous imprisonment in 2006. The HC had reversed the conviction in 2009. Four months after their acquittal, the customs department approached the SC.