While dealing with a plea seeking Indian Citizenship for two minor children, the Karnataka High Court has observed that unless the children renounce the citizenship of Pakistan, they cannot become citizens of India.

The Court noted that under the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955 Indian citizenship cannot be granted to those persons who are already citizens of another country and who also hold passports of any other country, be it a major or a minor.

“…the children as on today are not Stateless. They are citizens of Pakistan. They have only surrendered the passport but they have not renounced citizenship of Pakistan, mere surrender of the passport does not amount to renunciation of citizenship. Unless such renunciation comes about, no directions could be issued to the Ministry of External Affairs, to consider the case of the mother for grant of citizenship to the children.”, Justice M. Nagaprasanna held.

Advocate S.Sudharsan, appeared for the petitioners and Aditya Singh, Central Government Counsel appeared for Union of India.

In this case, the mother of the two children-petitioners is an Indian national i.e., holding Indian citizenship, who was married to a man having Pakistani citizenship. After about 12 years of their marriage, disputes arose between the couple and accordingly they applied for a divorce and their marriage came to be dissolved.

The custody of the children was granted to the mother. The mother then continued to stay in UAE. It is the averment in the petition that it became difficult for her to continue to stay in Dubai and, therefore, wanted to come back to India as she was an Indian citizen. But, the children did not have an Indian passport.

They approached the Indian Consulate at Dubai and submitted a representation in the prescribed form for conferring Indian citizenship and the Consulate directed them to surrender their Pakistan passport.

When the petitioners wanted to come to India, they had no Indian passport. At that point in time, the Indian Consulate gave temporary Indian passport to them on humanitarian grounds. The petitioners, on the strength of the temporary passport, travelled to India and are now staying in India with their mother.

The Court observed that “The children who are now seeking Indian citizenship can seek only after they renounce the citizenship of Pakistan as admittedly, the biological father is a citizen of Pakistan. The children are declared to be citizens of Pakistan. The mother may be an Indian citizen, unless violence is done to the language of the Citizenship Act, 1955, the children cannot be granted citizenship as they are already citizens of Pakistan…

The Court noted that the Consulate General of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan at Dubai stated that minor child/children cannot renounce the citizenship of Pakistan till they attain the age of 21 years.

“If the law elsewhere i.e., Pakistan does not permit renunciation of citizenship by minors up to a certain age, the law of this nation would not permit grant of citizenship to such persons. Therefore, it is for the mother of the petitioners to produce all the documents necessary before the concerned Authorities in India for an Indian citizenship to be accorded in terms of the Act.”, the Court held.

Thus the Court rejected the petition.

Cause Title- AM v. Union of India

Click here to read/download Judgment