Though Nuzhat Jahan, who has been married to an Indian for 30 years and was blessed with three children, has lost the legal battle to stay in this country along with her family and is likely to be deported to her native country Pakistan soon, she can still hope of coming back and making another effort to get the Indian citizenship to carry on her conjugal life.
Additional Solicitor General A.S. Chandiok has an easy solution to the vexed problem. He has suggested that the Government of India can intervene in the matter and stay her deportation and in the meanwhile her application for grant of citizenship can be processed on priority basis. “With this she would be saved the botheration of going to Pakistan and then trying to find her way back to India.”
According to Jahan’s lawyer, Anis Ahmed, she is herself to blame for the fallout of the case as she, due to sheer negligence, continued to stay in India unauthorisedly. Neither did she bother to get her long-term visa renewed nor did she apply for Indian citizenship.
Her self-assurance borne of her long stay in the country ultimately resulted in her punishment for six months’ imprisonment and subsequent deportation to her native country.
But all is not lost for her. While disposing of her appeal against a lower court order, Justice Kailash Gambhir of the Delhi High Court observed that she could come back to India by obtaining a Pakistani passport and then apply for the citizenship of this country.
Jahan had married Indian citizen Mohammed Gulfam in Pakistan in 1983. The couple came to India in 1985 on a long-term visa which they continued to extend till 1994. However, after that she did not care to get it renewed. Thereafter, she continued to say here illegally till date.
In the meanwhile, she applied for citizenship sometime in 1996-1997. However, her illegal stay in the country continued as she did not bother to get her visa renewed.
Ultimately, she was arrested by the Delhi Police in 2002. However, the every next day she was granted bail and had been with her husband till her revision petition against her six months’ conviction was upheld by a Sessions court here.
The Sessions court had reduced her sentence from six months to six days when she pleaded guilty to the offence she had been charged with. Her husband also consented to her deportation to Pakistan as he did not want her to be sent to jail.
However, later her desire to stay with her family got better of her fear of being jailed. She requested her lawyer to take a chance by filing an appeal against the Sessions court order.
When her appeal came up for hearing before Justice Gambhir, he took umbrage to her attempt to reach the Court when she had already pleaded guilty before the lower court. When Justice Gambhir said that she either withdraw the appeal or he would pass a reasoned order, the woman opted for withdrawal of the case.
After serving the six days’ sentence at the Tihar Central jail, she is at present at Nirmal Chhaya waiting to be deported to Pakistan.
However, lawyers insist her world has not fallen apart. She still has the option for a comeback and reunion with her family in India. And there is a strong possibility that she would also be able to obtain the citizenship of this country.