CHENNAI: Aadhaar card, driving licence, marriage registration document and even voter identity card will not confer Indian citizenship on persons belonging to other nations, unless the conferment is made by the competent authority, the Madras High Court has ruled.
Justice T Raja gave the ruling while dismissing a writ petition from Divya, daughter of a Sri Lankan women Jayanthi, who was detained at Anna International Airport here, on July 19 last. Jayanthi, a Sri Lankan national, migrated to Tamil Nadu following the ethnic problem there in 1989.
She studied SSLC in Tamil Nadu in 1991 and got married to one Premkumar, an Indian citizen, on April 21, 1992. The marriage was properly registered. She was blessed with three children. She had obtained Aadhaar card, driving licence and even a voter ID card
She applied for a passport in 2004 and went to Italy in 2007 and worked there as a house-maid. She often came back to India and stayed in Tamil Nadu for some days and again flew back to Italy. The immigration authorities in India never created any problem for her.
While so, when she came back from Italy and landed in Chennai on June 22 last to attend her daughter’s wedding at Tiruchy, she was detained by the authorities at Arignar Anna International Airport on the ground that she had obtained Indian passport fraudulently, as she was a Sri Lankan national by birth. The authorities also found that she was holding a Sri Lankan passport issued on October 12, 1989, which expired on October 11, 1994.
Alleging that she wantonly suppressed the facts, the authorities denied her entry into India and sent her to Sri Lanka on June 23. But, since she claimed she was an Indian, Sri Lankan authorities sent her back to India the same day. Once again on June 24, she was sent back to Sri Lanka by Indian authorities. However, the Sri Lankan immigration authority did not grant arrival clearance to Jayanthi and requested the Indian immigration to send her back to Sri Lanka on the strength of a valid emergency travel document issued by the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai.
Accordingly, the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission was informed to issue an emergency travel document to facilitate her return to Sri Lanka. Thereafter, on June 24, an order was issued by the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer, Chennai restricting her movement under the Foreigners Act, 1946. Assailing the move, Divya approached the High Court with the present petition for a directive to the authorities to relieve her mother from detention and allow her to travel back to Italy and join her employment.
The ASG submitted that petition was devoid of merit, as it was full of falsehood. The petitioner’s mother Jayanthi arrived from Milan by an Air India flight No.AI-142 on June 22 last and approached the Chennai Airport immigration for arrival clearance. As she had fraudulently obtained an Indian passport, because she was a Sri Lankan national by birth and her real name is Sayanthi Anandarajah, she is not entitled to claim that she is an Indian citizen.
Moreover, the Sri Lankan passport No.J0696001 was issued on October 12, 1989, which expired on October 11, 1994, at Colombo in the name of Sayanthi Anandarajah. This was found in the enquiry. Since the petitioner had wantonly suppressed the above fact in the writ petition, the same is liable to be dismissed on the ground that she has not approached this court with clean hands, the ASG argued.
Accepting the ASG’s arguments, Justice Raja said that he found full merits in his submissions. A perusal of the original passport of Jayanthi clearly showed that the Sri Lankan government had issued the said passport mentioning that the petitioner’s mother Jayanthi was born at Jaffna on December 7, 1973, and her national status was Sri Lankan. Therefore, the claim of the petitioner that by virtue of Section 5(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act, her mother has to be treated as an Indian, is far from acceptance.
A perusal of the original passport of Jayanthi clearly showed that the Sri Lankan government had issued the said passport mentioning that the petitioner’s mother Jayanthi was born at Jaffna on December 7, 1973, and her national status was Sri Lankan. Therefore, the claim of the petitioner that by virtue of the Citizenship Act, her mother has to be treated as an Indian, is far from acceptance.