Indian student wins £3,500 compensation at Heathrow airport

An Indian student has won £3,500 for her illegal detention at Heathrow Airport, London.

A student of the University of Bedfordshire in Luton town, Swathi Palisetty, was held for 17 hours by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials at Heathrow when she returned from a trip to India in December 2011.

A British high court heard that the agency had wrongly concluded Palisetty was not registered at her university college.

Palisetty sued the Home office over her detention as she was blocked from Britain on the mistaken basis of working as a nanny. The University of Bedfordshire removed her from its register after she was allowed back in Britain late 2012. Her visa’s validity came to an end in July 2012.



Swathi’s barrister that it was the Border’s agency assumption that she was working and the officers had failed to check the database or failed to enquire the University directly. The verdict was issued in Swathi’s favour and told the British Home office to pay 3500 pounds in damages.

The Home office was also given orders to pay 568 pounds for the cost of flight charges to Hyderabad.

However, during the court proceedings, Swathi was not able to provide agency officers with details about her course modules. Also it was noted that she did not have a good command of English when she tried to return to Britain from India. The University told the Home Office that they were not confident about Palisetty’s ability to continue the course and therefore did not reinstate her.

Palisetty also claimed that her detention had contributed to her failure to get her degree but the high court rejected her attempt to recover the course fees, the report said.
Sharanya Bharathwaj