The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday while hearing a petition raised an important question with regard to Section 9(2) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 which envisages an opportunity to be heard before taking any decision.
The division bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh passed this order while hearing the civil writ petition filed by Jugraj Singh and others. The petition states that the petitioners are residents of village Ilmewala, Tehsil Zira, District Ferozepur. The petitioner Jugraj Singh contacted a travel agent in 2001 to go to the USA. Instead, he was duped and sent to Kenya. In 2007, he got married to Kamaljit Kaur. The petitioner was forced to reside in Kenya in compelling circumstances, he had to apply for Kenyan citizenship and passport.
In 2014, he decided to permanently return to India and got Indian visa issued on December 30, 2014 valid up to June 29, 2015. He entered India on February 15, 2015 and since then he has been residing along with his family in India.
The Counsel for the Petitioners said in view of grant of Kenyan citizenship to petitioner, his Indian citizenship stood automatically terminated as per Section 9(1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and sought its restoration.
He even approached the Foreigners Regional Registration Officer, Bureau of Immigration (MHA), Government of India, 208, Basant Avenue, Amritsar (respondent no. 3) for this purpose and filed a representation.
On January 18, 2021, Ferozepur district police visited the house of Jugraj Singh and served him notice to leave India as he was considered to be a foreigner and was overstaying.
According to the petitioners, such an action would be violative of Sections 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India as no opportunity of hearing was afforded to Petitioner before taking the decision. Section 9(2) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 also envisages an opportunity of hearing before a decision in this regard is taken.
The Court while issuing notice of motion to the parties, issued stay orders on the deportation of the petitioner to Kenya till next date of hearing.