New Delhi, Oct. 4: A 31-year-old woman of Indian origin, twice convicted for drug abuse in the US and deported from that country, has approached the Supreme Court seeking its intervention to help her return to her American husband and young children.
Jennifer Edgell Haynes has argued that she was living in the US since 1989, when she was given up in adoption to an American couple at the age of eight, and that she could not be deported now.
A bench of Justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Pinaki Chandra Ghose has asked additional solicitor-general Sidharth Luthra to take up the issue with the ministry of external affairs and “see what could be done”. The court asked the Centre to get back to it after six weeks.
Haynes has been asked to file a formal plea with the ministry explaining her plea.
Her lawyer, Senthil Jagadeesan, said Haynes was adopted by an American family after Bombay High Court on November 15, 1989, cleared an application made by an adoption agency. However, the adoptive father abused her and she was taken into foster care in the US, the lawyer said. She lived with several foster families till she married a US national in 2002 and had two children with him.
In September 2001 and again in July 2004, Jennifer was convicted on charges of being in possession of cocaine. Since she was convicted twice for the same offence, it constituted an “aggravated felony” (grave crime) under US laws and Haynes was deported to the country of her origin on July 1, 2008.
Staying as a destitute in Mumbai, she challenged the deportation in Bombay High Court. On October 20, 2010, the high court dismissed her plea and said “that the issue needs humanitarian approach and that the court hopes that as and when the petitioner applies for citizenship of the US that would be considered with sympathy bearing in mind that her family is in the US.”
Aggrieved, she approached the apex court.
The petition urged the apex court to direct the Centre to take steps for sending her back to the US, using diplomatic channels. In the meantime, it sought monetary compensation for her sustenance since she has no source of livelihood.