Hyderabad

Home Ministry order on MLA citizenship issue set aside

High Court directs the Centre to determine the issue within 12 weeks

The Telangana High Court on Wednesday set aside the order of the Union Home Ministry that TRS MLA from Vemulawada Chennamaneni Ramesh was not an Indian citizen and faulted the officials for not following the court order in toto.

Justice P. Naveen Rao ordered fresh inquiry and directed the Centre to determine the issue within 12 weeks.

He was hearing a plea filed by the TRS legislator challenging the Union Home Ministry’s finding.

The temporary reprieve for Mr. Ramesh will help him continue as an MLA without facing further legal hurdles for the time being.

The MLA has German citizenship before entering politics in Telangana. Mr. Ramesh’s political rival Adi Srinivas, who lost successive elections against him, had filed a complaint stating that the former was a German citizen and hence not eligible to fight elections in India.

Probe

Enquiry by the Centre backed the contention of Mr. Srinivas and noted that since the MLA did not continuously stay in India for one year after his return and visited Germany in separate spells, he could not be considered Indian citizen.

The TRS MLA challenged the Central Government’s finding and filed a petition in the High Court which had previously ordered the Centre to examine the provisions of Indian Citizenship Act and decide the issue.

The Union Home Ministry stuck to its stand and declared Mr. Ramesh that he was not Indian citizen, which prompted the legislator to file fresh petition.

During the hearing, Mr. Ramesh counsel Y.Rama Rao said the officials had conducted themselves in a mechanical way in this case.

Counsel’s contention

Citing section 10(3) of the Citizenship Act that clearly asks the authorities not to mechanically declare persons ineligible to be Indian citizens, counsel said that this provision was never examined by the officials.

He pointed out that the provisions in the Citizenship Act said that they should deny citizenship only to such persons whose continuance is detrimental to society and is not conducive to public good.

He argued that here was a case of a legislator who had been winning the confidence of the people repeatedly with selfless service.

The Home Ministry did not view the case from the purview of 10 (3), Mr Rama Rao said. Setting aside the Centre’s order, the judge gave 12 weeks to reexamine the issue afresh under under 10 (3).

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 8:43:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/home-ministry-order-on-mla-citizenship-issue-set-aside/article28364286.ece

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