The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the Centre’s response on a plea by Sweden-based Professor of Indian origin, Ashok Swain, against barring of his Overseas Citizen of India card (OCI card).
An OCI card is issued to a foreign national of Indian origin, who is allowed to live and work in India for an indefinite period.
Single-judge Justice Prathiba M. Singh has asked the Centre to respond within four weeks and posted the matter for hearing in February 2023.
Swain is a faculty member of peace and conflict research at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Sweden’s Uppsala University.
In his plea he had mentioned that his OCI card was cancelled in February 2022 so he criticised the current Indian government. He stated that he has not delivered any inflammatory speech.
Swain argued that his card was cancelled on the alleged premise that he was indulging in inflammatory speeches and anti-India activities, however, there were no specific instances or materials to prove the same.
“It is submitted that the petitioner has never engaged in any inflammatory speeches or Anti-India activities. As a scholar it is his role in society to discuss and criticise the policies of Government through his work,” Swain’s petition read.
It added, “Being an Academician, he analyses and criticises certain policies of the present government, mere criticism of the policies of the current ruling dispensation shall not tantamount to anti-India activities under Section 7D(e) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.”