Stranded Australian man in India challenges country’s travel ban
- The lawyers of Gary Newman, who is stranded in Bengaluru, have argued in a court in Sydney that the ban was “unconstitutional”.
A 73-year-old Australian, who is stranded in India since March last year, has filed a lawsuit before a Sydney court against the federal government for banning flights from India and threatening to prosecute those attempting to enter the country with the possibility of a jail term and a penalty.
The lawyers of Gary Newman, who is stranded in Bengaluru, have argued in a court in Sydney that the ban was “unconstitutional”.
The Australian government, for the first time in history, imposed a ban on its citizens from returning home if they have spent time in India up to 14 days before flying back.
The ban was enforced in view of the raging pandemic in India, which has broken global records in recent days.
The government threatened to prosecute them with a possibility of five years of jail term or a penalty of 66,000 Australian dollars (US$50,899). On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison appeared to backtrack from the move, saying it was highly unlikely violators would be jailed.
Michael Bradley and Chris Ward lodged the application before Justice Stephen Burley on Wednesday afternoon. The application firstly said that the Commonwealth was acting outside its powers and secondly that the health minister Greg Hunt’s declaration was in breach of an implied freedom to return home, ABC news reported. Some critics have accused the government of racism because such drastic travel restrictions were not introduced when infection rates were rapidly increasing in the US and Europe.