8 July 2022 11:07 AM GMT
A 66-year-old grandmother, who claims to have come to India as a ten-year-old from Uganda, has approached the Bombay High Court seeking Indian Citizenship. Ila Jatin Popat says she married an Indian in 1977, and has challenged a 2019 order of the Deputy Collector of Mumbai Suburban District rejecting her application for citizenship and declaring her a "stateless woman". Popat claims...
A 66-year-old grandmother, who claims to have come to India as a ten-year-old from Uganda, has approached the Bombay High Court seeking Indian Citizenship.
Ila Jatin Popat says she married an Indian in 1977, and has challenged a 2019 order of the Deputy Collector of Mumbai Suburban District rejecting her application for citizenship and declaring her a "stateless woman".
Popat claims that by virtue of her marriage she is eligible for Citizenship under Section 5 of the Citizenships Act.
A division bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and SM Modak heard the petition briefly before Advocate Aditya Chitale for Popat sought time to seek instructions and the Centre was directed to file its response.
Counsel for the Ministry of External Affairs, Advocate Advait Sethna said they were not treating the petition as adversarial but the woman was required to produce a foreign passport. Sethna suggested that the petitioner could approach the embassy in Uganda and get the requisite documents from them.
Since her parents held British passports, she could have produced a British passport. However, since she was unsuccessful in getting a passport from the Embassy, she may be able to get some documents from the Embassy in Uganda.
The matter was then adjourned for after a week.
In her petition, Popat said that she was born to Indian origin parents in Uganda, in 1955. At the age of ten, she travelled with her mother to India along with her sibling and hasn't left Indian soil since then.
Popat says she married Jatin Popat, has children and grandchildren in India. All of them are Indian citizens. While she has tried to get an Indian passport several times, she has failed and has no record of those attempts.
Finally in 2015, Popat says she applied for a passport for the third time and was directed to apply for Indian citizenship first. Therefore, she filled a form through the online portal. But due to an error on her part, she mistakenly stated in her form that she carries a valid Indian visa, she said. However, in her petition Popat said she doesn't have details of her entry into India, except her mother's passport, as she was a minor.
The collector rejected her application for citizenship claiming that she was a "stateless national," without a valid passport and visa.
"On receipt of the said order dated December 31, 2019, she was in a state of depression and despite the fact that she had virtually spent her entire life in India and her children and grandchildren are all Indian citizens, only she herself was unable to secure Indian citizenship despite being a genuine case," the plea read.
The petition will now be heard on August 22, 2022.