The Delhi High Court on Monday set aside a Central government order cancelling the Overseas Citizen of India card of Sweden-based professor of Indian origin, Ashok Swain, reported Bar and Bench.
Overseas Citizenship of India is an immigration status that allows foreigners of Indian origin to live and work in India indefinitely.
Swain, who holds a Swedish citizenship, is an academic and professor of peace and conflict research at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Sweden’s Uppsala University.
In February 2022, Swain’s Overseas Citizen of India card was cancelled on allegations of delivering inflammatory speeches and promoting “anti-India” activities, reported The Tribune. Swain had moved the High Court contending that his OCI card was cancelled because of his statements critical of the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre.
The Centre had told the High Court that the action was taken against Swain because he was involved in activities “prejudicial to security and stability of India”, its sovereignty and integrity and friendly relations with other countries, reported Bar and Bench.
However, Swain contended in his plea that no specific instance or reason was cited in the show cause notice by the Centre to justify the move. He contended in his plea that he never gave any inflammatory speeches or engaged in any “anti-India” activities.
“As a scholar, it his role in the society to discuss and critique the policies of government through his work,” his petition said.
Justice Subramonium Prasad of the High Court on Monday said that the Centre’s order merely cited provisions of the Citizenship Act to cancel Swain’s OCI card but did not furnish any reasons. The High Court ordered the Centre to pass a fresh reasoned order within three weeks.
“It appears that there was no application of mind,” the High Court held, reported Bar and Bench.