UK Home Office to Give Indian Man £40,000 Over Separation from Child

An Indian man will get £40,000 in damages after the UK Home Office admitted that it had committed an error in detaining him, keeping him away from his four-year-old daughter.


An Indian man will get £40,000 in damages after the United Kingdom Home Office admitted on July 11 that it had committed an error in detaining him, keeping him away from his four-year-old daughter. The man, identified only as AJS, was wrongly placed in immigration detention for three months after serving a 20-month prison sentence for wounding in June 2017.

The father won his legal case against the UK Home Office for “false imprisonment” and “disruption” to contact with the child, a Lithuanian national, who was three years old at the time. The Home Office has also been directed to pay the child £10,000 in damages and to pay for the family’s legal costs.

Stephanie Harrison, the counsel for the man and his daughter, told the High Court that the case involved “systemic failures” committed by the Home Office. His detention was unlawful since it breached the Home Office policies as well as the father and daughter’s right to family life, under European law, the Guardian reported.

The father was placed in detention pending his deportation while his daughter was put in care even though the local authority where he had been living said that it was in the child’s best interests to be raised by her father, the report added. The authority did not believe the girl’s mother was capable of looking after her. However, AJS was initially held under immigration powers at Wormwood Scrubs prison in London and then moved to the Verne immigration removal center at Dorset, which was 250 miles from where his daughter was living, while no arrangement was made for the two to have contact with each other.

The Home Office refused to transfer the man so he could remain in contact with his daughter, and twice refused him bail, the BBC reported. When AJS was released, he was given a bail address that was still very far from the girl, and an electronic tag with a daily curfew, making it impractical for the two to meet, the report added.

If the two were not united, the girl would have been placed for adoption. The Home Office accepted in court that it had acted in an unlawful manner.

“The litany of unlawful conduct in the case and how close this child came to the catastrophic outcome of adoption is truly shocking,” the father’s solicitor, Janet Farrell of the London law firm Bhatt Murphy, was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

“Despite highly critical judgments in the past, and compelling evidence of the harm caused to children by the indefinite detention of their parents, the Home Office continues to separate children from their parents in an arbitrary and cruel manner,” he said, adding, “The duty to treat the best interests of children and a primary consideration is too often subjugated to the perceived need to be tough on immigration, with devastating effects on the welfare of children and parents alike.”

Judge Blair, who heard the case, said the outcome was “reassuring” and “heart warming.”

A Home Office spokesperson said in a statement: “We try to keep families together wherever possible and when considering returns put the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children at the center of any decision. In this case we accept that we did not comply with our own published policies.”

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