Thursday 15 April 2021 7:19 PM UTC
NEW DELHI April 15: Eighty Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) cardholders, residing in India, have challenged Supreme Court in regards to not being able to freely express their views on the Indian government, Times of India reported. The petitioners said that section 7D of the Citizenship Act allows the Centre to cancel the registration of OCIs over violation of any law or for showing disaffection to the constitution of India.
OCIs are those who have connections with India by birth or parentage but hold a passport for another country. This does not mean an Indian citizenship or Indian passports.
Section 7D of the India Citizenship Act grants the government permission to strike the registration of OCIs in order to prohibit them from living in India over violation of any law or showing disaffection to the constitution of India.
The law states that: “Section 7D(b) of the Act allows the government to cancel a person’s OCI registration if they show disaffection to the Constitution of India and section 7D(da) allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law.”
These provisions have been described as overbearing on the freedoms enjoyed by OCIs as they cannot express peaceful dissent against the government in fear that such protests will lead to them losing their OCI.
Senior Advocate R. Venkataramani who is representing the OCIs, has stated that a lot contribute to the nation via tax payment and their profession, but live in constant fear that they may lose their OCI status due to the power held by the Modi government.
The original purpose of the OCI scheme was to give people of Indian origin as many rights as an Indian citizen even though they could not have the full citizenship. Sanjay Hedge, senior advocate at the Supreme Court of India stated that “The new rules change the emphasis from near-citizenship to be above par foreigners. Technically the government is right. The OCI card was all along a long-term visa, but apart from long-term stay, it also gave a lot of privileges, or the attempt was to give a near-citizenship experience.
These rules have basically been tightened to get over a few court rulings…They have the rule making power as long as procedure is complied with and laid on the floor of parliament and so on.”
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