The Bombay High Court on Friday asked the Central government to file its reply to a petition by a 66-year-old woman of Indian origin, who is now Stateless and has been allegedly residing illegally in the city.
A division bench of Justices VG Gangapurwala and SM Modak asked the centre to file a reply and kept the petition for hearing on August 22.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Ila Popat challenging the December 2019 order of the Deputy Collector of Mumbai Suburban District rejecting her application for Indian citizenship stating that she is a “stateless citizen by birth” without any valid passport and visa.
The petition filed through advocate Aditya Chitale contended that Popat was born in Uganda to Indian origin parents who held British passports.
She came to India in 1966 with her mother on the latter’s passport.
Her plea states she had applied for a passport on three occasions and had tried to submit the British passports of her parents as she did not have the same.
On the third occasion, while applying for a passport, the Regional Passport Office directed Popat to apply for citizenship in order to get a passport. Accordingly, she applied for citizenship online and the same came to be rejected. She has challenged this before the HC.
Advait Sethna, counsel for the Ministry of External Affairs, informed the Court that it could grant citizenship to Popat if she produces some foreign passport.
Popat had approached the British embassy since her parents held British passports. However, the embassy refused to grant her passport as she did not have any documents, said Sethna.
Sethna said that she was required to follow this procedure. He assured the court that the Centre was not treating this as adversarial litigation.
He suggested that Popat could approach the embassy in Uganda and get the requisite documents from them.