The Karnataka High Court, on Monday granted bail to a Bangladeshi Christian 'illegal migrant' taking note of the provisions of Citizenship Amendment Act 2019.
Archona Purnima Pramanik is a Bangladeshi National and a Christian. Allegation against her is that she illegally migrated to India and later she obtained Indian documents like PAN Card, Aadhaar Card in her name and on the strength of these documents, she fraudulently obtained an Indian Passport. She was arrested and is in custody since November 2019. FIR registered against her quoted under sections 465, 471, 468 of IPC, sections 5, 12 and 14 of Foreigners Act, 1946 and section 3(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
In her bail application before the High Court, it was contended that as per the section 2 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 as amended by the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, she cannot be treated as an illegal migrant and all the proceedings initiated against her shall stand abated on conferment of the Citizenship Act and hence, if she need to apply for citizenship as per the above provisions, her presence is very much required.
While granting her conditional bail, Justice John Michael Cunha noted that amended section 2 of the Citizenship Act as amended by CAA 2019 provides that, any person Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act. The Judge observed:
The allegations in the instant case are that the petitioner has fabricated and manipulated the documents relating to her identity namely Aadhar Card, PAN card and Passport and on the strength of these documents, she has been claiming to be a citizen of India. These allegations require to be established during trial. Petitioner has taken up a plea that all these documents are lawfully obtained by her after following due procedure and under the said circumstances, in view of the Amendment to the Citizenship Act and there being prima facie material to show that the petitioner has been residing in India since 2002 with her husband and child, until the allegations made against the petitioner are established in a full-dressed trial, the petitioner is entitled to be enlarged on bail. In the light of the above facts and circumstances, even the applicability of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 may have to be decided before proceeding against the petitioner
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