W.P.(C) Nos. 206, 207 and 126 of 2015. Case: Tenzing Choden Sherpa alias Tenzing Choden and Ors. Vs Union of India and Ors.. Meghalaya High Court

Case NumberW.P.(C) Nos. 206, 207 and 126 of 2015
Party NameTenzing Choden Sherpa alias Tenzing Choden and Ors. Vs Union of India and Ors.
CounselFor Appellant: M.F. Quershi, Adv. and For Respondents: R. Deb Nath, C.G.C. and S. Sen Gupta, G.A.
JudgesDinesh Maheshwari, C.J. and Ved Prakash Vaish, J.
IssueCitizenship Act, 1955 - Sections 3, 3(1), 3(1)(a), 3(2), 5, 5(1)(c), 6, 6(1), 9, 9(2); Passports Act, 1967 - Sections 4(2)(b), 6(2)(a)
Judgement DateFebruary 15, 2017
CourtMeghalaya High Court

Order:

Dinesh Maheshwari, C.J.

  1. These three writ petitions relating to similar nature claim of the petitioners that they are entitled to be declared as citizens of India in view of Section 3(1)(a) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the "Act of 1955"), have been considered together and are taken up for disposal by this common order.

  2. Put in a nutshell, the case of the petitioners is that having born in India after 26.01.1950 but before 01.07.1987, they are citizens of India by virtue of Section 3(1)(a) of the Act of 1955 but such rights are sought to be denied to them by the respondents without any justification and without any reason.

  3. The relevant background aspects in relation to each of the writ petitioners could be taken note of, in brief, as follows:

    W.P.(C) NO. 206 of 2015

  4. The petitioner herein claims that she was born on 23.02.1981, at Ganesh Das Hospital, Shillong, to the Tibetan parents who came as refugees to India several decades ago. The petitioner has alleged that after attaining the age of majority, her name was enrolled as an elector from 18-West Shillong (Gen) Assembly Constituency and the Election Identity Card was issued to her. The petitioner has further pointed out that she was issued the passport by the Regional Passport Office, Guwahati and she was holding the passport bearing No. H5469436 having validity until 16.05.2020.

  5. The petitioner has stated the grievance in the manner that on 17.4.2014, she submitted an application before the Regional Passport Officer, Guwahati Division, Respondent No. 3, for the purpose of obtaining Police Confirmation Certificate (PCC) for Visa clearance and followed it up with reminders, but PCC was not issued to her and instead, she was served with a letter dated 31.03.2015, as issued by the respondent No. 4, Under Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya (Home) Passport Department, stating that her request for grant of Indian citizenship by naturalisation under Section 6(1) of the Act of 1955 was declined by the Government of India because she had entered India on 22.02.1981. Petitioner would state that she had never entered India on the date mentioned but in fact, she was born on 23.02.1981 and her parents had entered India much before and during the years 1950-1960.

  6. The petitioner has further averred that she had submitted a representation to the authorities concerned so as to surrender her Registration Certificate as she was possessed of Election Identity Card and was holding the status of a citizen but the authorities were seeking to deny her the status of citizen under the Act of 1955.

    W.P.(C) NO. 207 of 2015

  7. The petitioner of W.P.(C) No. 207 of 2015 has similarly submitted that her parents were Tibetan refugees, who came to India several decades ago and settled in Umsohsun, Shillong; and that she was born to them on 17.01.1980 at KJP Hospital, Shillong. This petitioner also submits she was holding the Election Identity Card on being enrolled as Elector from 20-Mawkhar Assembly Constituency and that she was holding the Indian Passport bearing No. J0521854 having validity until 10.07.2021.

  8. This petitioner has stated the grievance in the manner that the respondent No. 5, Superintendent of Police cum Foreigners Registration Officer, Shillong, invited herself and her parents in the month of May 2013 asking them to renounce the citizenship and to apply for certificate which was to be held by the Tibetans in India.

  9. The petitioner has averred that when she made a representation against the proposition so stated by the respondent No. 5, she was served with the copy of Notifications dated 26.08.2011 and 23.02.2012 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Division), New Delhi, to the effect that even though born in India in the year 1980, the petitioner would be treated as a Tibetan. The petitioner has also referred to the instructions issued by the Director (Citizenship), Government of India dated 25.05.2015 to the effect that the children born to Tibetan refugees would not be treated as Indian citizens automatically based on their birth between 26.01.1950 and 30.06.1987 under Section 3(1)(a) of the Act of 1955.

    W.P.(C) NO. 126 of 2015

  10. The petitioner of W.P.(C) No. 126 of 2015 submits that he was born on 03.03.1977 at Delhi to the Tibetan parents settled in India. This petitioner also asserts that having attained the age of majority, he was enrolled as an Elector of 19-South Shillong Assembly Constituency and was issued Voter Identity Card dated 09.12.2011. It is also asserted that the petitioner was issued the Indian Passport bearing No. G9136269 on 01.08.2008 by the Regional Passport Office, Guwahati. The petitioner submits that his parents were holding Registration Certificate meant for Tibetans as per the Registration of Foreigners Rules, 1939 and due to ignorance, they obtained such a certificate for him too though the same was not required, as he is an Indian citizen by birth.

  11. The petitioner has stated the grievance that when he attempted to surrender the Registration Certificate, the Superintendent of Police cum Foreigners Registration Officer refused to accept such a surrender and rather directed him to surrender the Passport.

    SUBMISSIONS ON BEHALF OF THE PETITIONERS:

  12. While questioning the actions and propositions of the authorities concerned whereby the...

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