Delhi HC Seeks Centre’s Reply on Petition by Ashok Swain Against Cancellation of OCI Card


GG News Bureau

New Delhi, 12th Sept. The Delhi High Court on Monday asked for the Centre’s answer to academician Ashok Swain’s petition challenging an order by which his Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card was cancelled.

Justice Subramonium Prasad served notice on the petition on the Central government, via the Ministries of Home Affairs and External Affairs, and gave them four weeks to respond.

The court scheduled a hearing on November 9 after the petitioner’s counsel stated that Swain’s 78-year-old mother, who resides in India, is ill, and that he is the only son who has not been able to visit India in the past three years.

His lawyer stated that he must travel to India immediately to care for his ailing mother.

Swain, a Swedish resident, filed a petition with the high court against the July 30 ruling canceling his OCI card, claiming that a non-speaking order was issued.

“Although, it is the alleged case of the respondent (Centre) that the petitioner (Swain) was blacklisted for anti-India activities for allegedly spreading detrimental propaganda through his writings and speeches in various public forums; the impugned order is bereft of any particular incidence/ tweet/ writing or reason which remotely demonstrates the contention of the respondent no.3 (Embassy of India to Sweden and Latvia) that the petitioner is allegedly carrying out detrimental propaganda on public forums,” the plea, filed through advocates Aadil Singh Boparai, Srishti Khanna and Sadiq Noor, said.

It stated that the July 30 order does not meet the standard of a well-reasoned/detailed order since it fails to reveal any material that justifies the petitioner’s OCI card revocation.

Swain stated that as an academician, he analyzes and criticizes specific practices of the current government and that he cannot be punished for his views on government policy.

“As a scholar it is his role in the society to discuss and critique the policies of government through his work. The petitioner cannot be witch-hunted for his views on the political dispensation of the current government or their policies.  “Criticism of certain policies of the government would not amount to being an inflammatory speech or an anti-India activity,” the petition said.

Swain, Professor and Head of Department at Uppsala University’s Department of Peace and Conflict Research in Sweden, had previously also petitioned the high court to challenge the Central Government’s February 8, 2022 order cancelling his OCI card.

On July 10, a high court overturned the government’s order, stating it lacks justification and “hardly gives any indication of application of mind.”

“Other than repeating the Section (under which the OCI card was cancelled) as a mantra, no reason is given in the order as to why the registration of the petitioner as a OCI card holder has been revoked,” the high court had said.

It had directed the Centre to issue a comprehensive order outlining the reasons for exercising its powers under the Citizenship Act of 1955 within three weeks.

The petition said despite such specific and unequivocal directions of the high court to pass a detailed order, authorities have padded the July 30 order in a callous manner by merely para-phrasing the provisions of law.

It said the order is “ex-facie illegal, arbitrary and non-est in law” and has been passed without any application of judicial mind.

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