Delhi HC seeks Centre’s response on plea by Ashok Swain against cancellation of OCI card

01:59 PM Dec 08, 2022 | PTI |

The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought response from the central government on a petition by academic Ashok Swain against the cancellation of his Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card.


Justice Prathiba M Singh issued notice on the petition by the Sweden resident and granted four weeks’ time to the Centre to state its stand.

In his plea, the petitioner – Professor and head of department at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University in Sweden — said that pursuant to a show-cause notice issued in 2020, his OIC card was arbitrarily barred on the alleged premise that he was indulging in inflammatory speeches and anti-India activities.

Subsequently, on February 8 this year, the authorities cancelled the OCI card without giving a fair and just opportunity to the petitioner, in violation of his right to free movement, the plea submitted.

The petitioner emphasised that as a scholar, it is his role to discuss and critique government policies but he has never engaged in any inflammatory speeches or anti-India activities and the cancellation order was passed without giving him an opportunity to rebut the allegations or supplying him material on the basis of which proceedings were initiated.


The plea alleged that the cancellation order is ex-facie illegal, arbitrary and non-est in law, besides being non-speaking and unreasoned and the petitioner cannot be “witch-hunted for his views on the political dispensation of the current government or their policies”.

“The petitioner has never engaged in any inflammatory speeches or anti-India activities. As a scholar it is his role in the society to discuss and critique the policies of government through his work. 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,” said the plea filed through lawyer Aaadil Singh Boparai.

The petitioner said he has not visited India for the past two years and nine months and there is an extreme urgency in the matter as he has to visit the country and attend to his ailing mother.

It further informed that the petitioner filed a revision application before the authorities against the cancellation order but he has not received any communication regarding the status of the same.

The matter would be heard next on February 7.


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