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Delhi HC clarifies on citizenship to Tibetans

Published : Sep 23, 2016, 1:30 am IST
Updated : Sep 23, 2016, 1:30 am IST

In a landmark judgment, the Delhi high court has issued directions to the ministry of external affairs stating that every Tibetan born in India between 1950 and 1987 to be considered as citizens under

In a landmark judgment, the Delhi high court has issued directions to the ministry of external affairs stating that every Tibetan born in India between 1950 and 1987 to be considered as citizens under the Citizenship Act.

The court was hearing a plea filed by a 46-year-old Tibetan, working in Delhi, pushing for implementation of the Indian Citizenship Act to allow him to legally procure an Indian passport.

The 1955 Citizenship Act states that a person born on or after the 26th day of January,1950, but before the 1st day of July, 1987, will be considered an Indian Citizen. The law was later amended with the result that those born in the country from July 1, 1987 could no longer claim citizenship by birth unless one of their parents was an Indian citizen. Lobsang Wangyal, in his plea before Justice Manmohan, had said that despite being a registered voter, his application for an Indian passport was rejected on the ground that though born in India in 1970, and therefore a citizen, he was of Tibetan descent.

Wangyal, a journalist by profession, has sought necessary directions to Regional Passport Officer (RPO) to consider Tibetan persons who are born in India on or before January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987 as Indian citizens by law. Through his counsel, he has submitted that he is currently stateless with no nationality or citizenship. “Petitioner is holding a Yellow Book or Identification Certificate which is treated as a travel document within the meaning of Section 4(2)(b) of the Passport Act, 1967,” the plea has said.

However, the government requires all Tibetans born in the country, irrespective of their date of birth, to register themselves as foreigners once they reach the age of 16 years. The registration gives them a temporary but renewable permit to remain in the country. For overseas travel, they are issued an identity certificate instead of a passport. The petitioner has said he had made an application for issuance of a passport on August 29, 2014, but it was not accepted by the RPO on the ground that he is a holder of Yellow Book/Identification Certificate.

He was advised to apply for Indian Citizenship in order to be eligible for issuance of Passport, the plea has said.

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi