NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has sought the Centre’s response on a minor girl’s plea for an Indian passport, which was denied to her as her father had acquired British citizenship. A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notices to the ministries of home affairs, external affairs and law seeking their response to the plea challenging the government’s February 20 decision declining to renew her Indian passport, which expired in 2017.
The petition also challenges section 8(2) of the Citizenship Act on the basis of which the government had held that she was no longer an Indian citizen.
The central government, represented by its standing counsel Manish Mohan, told the court that the girl’s request for passport renewal was denied as her mother passed away in 2010 and her father, practising medicine in the UK, had in 2017 acquired British citizenship.
Therefore, she ceased to be an Indian citizen according to section 8(2) of the Citizenship Act.
Under the Act, when a person ceases to be a citizen of India by renouncing it, every minor child of that person shall thereupon cease to be a citizen of India.
However, the Act also provides that if within a year of attaining majority, the child makes a declaration that he/she wishes to resume Indian citizenship, he/she shall thereupon again become a citizen.
The court asked the government to indicate its stand on the affidavit and listed the matter for further hearing on November 20.
No longer a citizen by law
The government rejected the girl’s request for passport renewal stating that she ceased to be an Indian citizen under the Citizenship Act after her mother passed away and her father acquired British citizenship in 2017.
(With PTI inputs)