Passport, birth proof not enough to claim Indian citizenship: HC

Passport, birth proof not enough to claim Indian citizenship: HC

The Bombay High Court has disallowed Indian citizenship claims of four illegal migrants who had entered into the country saying that passport, Aadhaar card or a birth certificate were not sufficient to establish their citizenship and that under the law it was necessary for them to prove that their parents were Indian nationals.

The order was delivered recently by Justice K U Chandiwal, who dismissed petitions filed by four persons who were prosecuted for being illegal migrants into the country.

"The birth certificate of one of the applicant Anwar, will not suffice as under the law it is imperative for such applicants to establish that his parents were Indian nationals. There is no such proof adduced before the learned (trial) judge," the court observed.

Under the citizenship laws, a person is an Indian by birth if he is born on or after 26th day of January, 1950, or before the 1st day of July, 1987. But if a person is born after July 1987, then he or she can claim citizenship only if either parent was an Indian national.

Those born in India on or after December 3, 2004, can claim citizenship by birth only if parents are Indians or if one parent is a citizen and the other is not an illegal immigrant at the time of birth.

In this case, the High Court upheld a trial court's order sentencing Anwar and three others to six months jail term for illegally entering India. A plea made by them to remand the matter back to trial court so that they could submit the required proof was also rejected by the High Court.

Justice Chandiwal said it was difficult to accept the argument of the applicants that the provisions of Citizenship by Birth under Citizenship Act, 1965, would not be applicable to them. The judge said there was nothing to suggest that the said Act has been turned to be ultra-vires to the Constitution.

"Survey of the above facts does not call for interference. Revision and application are dismissed", said the judge. @Body:

Counsel for applicants R A Shaikh argued that applicant Anwar was born in India and his birth certificate says so. Applicant number 2 has a passport, which shows that he is an Indian national. Another applicant Rani Begum also has a passport.

They possess Aadhaar Card (unique identification number) and consequently, according to them, they being Indian nationals by birth, the prosecution needs interference, the lawyer argued.

The counsel said these documents, pertinently the birth certificate or the passport, were not placed before the trial judge while recording evidence and urged the High Court to remit the matter to the magistrate for reconsideration.

However, the High Court rejected the plea saying in normal circumstances, considering the plight faced by the applicants or being a case of non-representation, this could have been done. But the passport to which the counsel gave reference is already terminated passport. Therefore, no legal basis can be achieved for its reliance.

Moreover, laws require them to show that their parents were Indians, the judge said.

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