India travel ban lands in court as stranded Australian launches legal action

A 73-year-old Australian citizen is challenging the validity of the federal government’s India travel ban. 

Lawyer Michael Bradley, who is acting on behalf of the 73-year-old, confirmed the challenge has been lodged in the Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon.

The legal action is challenging the validity of Health Minister Greg Hunt’s emergency declaration of the travel ban under the Biosecurity Act based on constitutional grounds. 

The man travelled to India in March last year and is currently in Bangalore, in India’s southern state of Karnataka.

The government’s travel ban, enforced under the Biosecurity Act, came into effect on Monday with a deadline of 15 May – banning anyone who has been in India in the past 14 days from entering Australia.  

It means Australian citizens and residents failing to comply with the emergency determination face a $66,600 fine or five-year jail term if they leave India for Australia. 

The government has described the measure as a “temporary pause” – but it has been widely condemned as unfair and heavy-handed by some members of the Indian Australian community and human rights advocates.

More to come.

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