Monday, July 22, 2024

Delhi HC sets aside Centre’s order cancelling OCI card of Prof Ashok Swain

 The Delhi High Court on Monday set aside Centre’s order cancelling the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card of Sweden-based Professor of Indian origin, Ashok Swain, observing that other than repeating Sections, no proper reason has been given in the order as to why his registration has been removed. 

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 has mentioned that his OCI card was cancelled in February 2022 as he criticised the current Indian government.

He states that he has not delivered any inflammatory speech.

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.

“The respondents are directed to pass a detailed order giving the reason for exercising its power under Section 7D(e) of the Citizenship Act. The impugned order is set aside. The respondents are directed to complete the exercise in a period of three weeks from today,” the court said.

“This hardly is an order, doesn’t give any reasons…This hardly gives any indication of the application of mind on the matter. Pass a detailed order with reasons for cancellation,” a single-judge bench of Justicec Subramonium Prasad said as he perused the impugned order.

Swain has 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.”

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