With expat cases being reported lately, ‘Ignorance of the law is not an excuse’ says General Trade Union of Services Workers (GTU) Advisor Thampi Nagarjuna. He further highlighted that the majority of expatriates in Bahrain are not familiar with court procedures and formalities which often lands them in trouble.

Speaking to Albilad “I am dealing with cases where the defendant often says he/she was not aware of such formalities. My response to that is ‘ignorance of the law is not an excuse” said GTU advisor Thampi Nagarjuna.

Thampi Nagarjuna“I know a case where a person was reported as a ‘runaway’ by his former sponsor.  He was presented to the court and released on the basis that his visa is re-issued.  After clearing the matter with his former sponsor, he cancelled his visa and joined another company and obtained a valid visa under a new sponsor. But he did not go back to the court which he was supposed to do” said GTU advisor Thampi Nagarjuna.

“The court had summoned him but he did not appear maybe because he was not aware. But either way, the court decided to deport him. Later on at an event, he was caught and jailed. As per court documents, he was summoned but he failed to appear. This is a growing issue among expatriates” he added.

Ignoring the law and stating one did not know is not an excuse emphasized the advisor.

With regards to filing employees as ‘ runaways’, there is a contract signed between the parties where both the employer and employee are equally important he further highlighted.

‘To my knowledge, there are several people who are facing such issues. Violation of the contract does not only mean an employee did something but the employer could have also done something from his end. Salary not paid for even a month is a violation.  There are two sides of the story so it is not just the role of the employee that must be looked into but the employer as well” he added.

He further emphasized the importance of practising one’s moral responsibility apart from legal responsibilities as well.