Published on March 12, 2012
Foreign based speakers who exhibit “unacceptable behaviour” will be excluded from the UK. It has been held by the Court of Appeal that foreign based speakers will be excluded from the UK if they have exhibited“ Unacceptable Behaviour”
The court of appeal has confirmed that the exclusion of an Indian Muslim public speaker from the United Kingdom after making statements which breached the Home Office’s “unacceptable behaviour policy” was lawful, and that any interference with his rights was justified.
Dr. Naik is a 44-year-old Indian Muslim televangelist and a public speaker who had regularly visited the UK since 1999. He had been granted a five-year, multiple entry visitor visa in 2008. In the year 2010, two days before he was due to deliver a series of lectures at arenas in Wembley and Sheffield, the Home Secretary took the decision to exclude him and revoked his visa. She considered that he had made a number of statements which were supportive of terrorists and breached the “unacceptable behaviour policy” for exclusion from the UK.
The Home Office sources said Dr Naik had been filmed on a website making inflammatory comments such as “every Muslim should be a terrorist”. According to the Home Office, he said: “When a robber sees a policeman he’s terrified. So for a robber, a policeman is a terrorist. So in this context, every Muslim should be a terrorist to the robber.”
Dr. Naik has been named as the third most popular spiritual guru in India and was judged in 2009 to be 82nd in a list of India’s most powerful people.
Court of Appeal Decision
Dr. Naik appealed the Home Secretary’s decision to exclude him from the UK. In considering Dr. Naik’s appeal, the Court of Appeal determined that the comments made by Dr. Naik were provocative and inflammatory as his prominent position meant that his statements, even if taken out of context, took on much greater significance. The Court of Appeal determined that given the importance of the national security aims of the policy, the decision by the Home Secretary was proportionate to those aims and therefore, the decision was justified.
It is clear from the Court of Appeal Judgment that there is potential for the state to intervene in respect of any such arrangements and exclude the speaker, regardless of whether the person has visited the UK in the past or has pre-arranged dates that they are committed to.
Rahul Batra is the Director and Head of Department at Hudson McKenzie. Rahul Batra can be reached at email@example.com