Sydney: A married Indian couple have won the right to stay in Australia, for now, after seeking refugee status claiming they might be killed if they returned to India as they are from different castes.
A court in Canberra ruled in favour of the couple who hail from Punjab after their plea for refugee status was rejected by Australian immigration and refugee authorities.
However, there is still a chance of them getting deported as the authorities have appealed against the ruling of the Federal Circuit Court in Canberra in a higher court, The Canberra Times reported Saturday.
The couple, a Sikh and from a backward Hindu caste, secretly married in 2007 and lived separately in India after the man’s parents refused to accept the marriage.
In 2008, the couple fled to Australia and applied for a protection visa to Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship but were turned down.
They then raised their issue before the Refugee Review Tribunal.
The tribunal turned down their request saying they could relocate to any large city in India like New Delhi or Mumbai, according to the newspaper.
However, the man said his family had “political and police connections” and he and his wife could easily be tracked down if they stayed in India.
The Federal Circuit Court in Canberra finally ruled in their favour after the matter was brought before it, saying the tribunal had failed to comply with Australia’s Migration Act.
“(The tribunal) denied the applicants the opportunity to be apprised of information upon which the tribunal plainly intended to, and did in fact, rely in affirming the decision under review,” federal magistrate Warwick Neville was quoted as saying in his ruling.
He also stated that the tribunal failed to meet the “objects” of the Migration Act.
“The failure to comply with the terms of Â… the (Migration) act Â… in my view, constituted jurisdictional error,” he stated.
He ordered the Refugee Review Tribunal to review its decision.