Delhi HC comes to the rescue of a Pakistani woman married to an Indian man, quashes centre’s ‘leave India’ notice

Delhi: The judiciary has once again come to the rescue of a helpless Pakistani woman, married to an Indian man and residing in Delhi since 2005, who was ordered to leave India on the basis of adverse security reports.

Delhi HC

As reported in the ANI, a Delhi high court (HC) bench comprising of Chief Justice RajendraMenon and Justice JairamAnoopBhambhani, on Tuesday, quashed a single judge bench order dated February 28, wherein the Judge had upheld the Centre’s ‘leave India notice’ to the Pakistani woman (37), who got married to an Indian man in 2005 and has two sons aged eleven and five.

The couple had first approached the Delhi HC after the centre issued a notice to her on February 7 directing her to leave India within two weeks. The notice had further warned the woman that if she fails to leave India within the stipulated time then legal action will be taken against her and she will be barred from entering the country in the future. The couple had even submitted her long-term visa which was valid from June 2015 to June 2020. However, the centre, represented by counselAnuragAhluwalia, had argued that there were adverse security reports against the woman and in such a scenario the visa stands cancelled. Upholding the notice, Justice VibhuBakru had said, “You have not done anything to naturalize your citizenship for India. You have not established any right to stay in India.”

Consequently, the husband challenged the February 28 order before the division bench headed by the chief justice. Setting aside the contentious order, the division bench pulled up the centre for not following the “due procedure” while issuing the deportation notice to the woman. It even rejected the centre’s claim that there were adverse security reports against her stating that the evidences, including intelligence inputs, placed before it aren’t sufficient enough to take such a step against the woman. It even upheld the woman’s validity of the visa till 2020. The bench further went on to direct the central government to consider the woman’s application for citizenship.

According to section 5(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, “a person who is married to a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration” shall be provided an Indian citizenship by the Central government on the basis of the application received.

Thus, under the above mentioned provision, the woman’s application for citizenship stands valid as she has been a resident of Delhi since 2005 and is married to an Indian man which doesn’t make her an illegal immigrant (an exception to the rule).

Denial of citizenship to her is not only a violation of this rule but also infringes the woman’s right. As the centre’s argument of security concern has been rejected by the Delhi HC, it will be interesting to see whether the centre changes its decision, considering that she is a Pakistani. Another sigh of relief for the woman can be the recent lapse of the contentious Citizenship Amendment bill, 2019.

In times like these, an independent judiciary indeed plays a crucial role in ensuring substantive as well as procedural justice.

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