Written byAnjana Raghav ·
Delhi High Court has said that Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) appear to enjoy the fundamental rights of equality before law and freedom of speech and expression in the same way as any other Indian citizen does.
The court's observation came while asking the Center to place before it the material based on which the OCI registration of a US-based Indian-origin doctor was canceled.
Dr. Christo Thomas Philip had challenged the cancellation of his OCI registration for alleged missionary activities in Bihar.
Delhi HC's Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued the direction after finding that one of the facts, regarding the doctor's place of birth, was "incorrect" in the report and there was no material on record to support the government assumption that he was acting as a medical missionary.
"The said report indicates that the petitioner was born in the USA. This is stoutly disputed by the petitioner. He states that he was born in Kerala. Thus, one of the factual premises in the intelligence report appears to be incorrect," the court said.
Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) is a scheme introduced in response to demands for dual citizenship by Indian diaspora.
According to the petition, Philip was granted the OCI card and a lifelong visa by the government to visit India on November 22, 2012.
He claimed he visited India several times in the past to serve as a volunteer doctor with Duncan Hospital at Raxaul in Bihar from January 2014 till he was allegedly "unlawfully deported" on April 26, 2016, from the IGI Airport.
Philip had moved the HC last year against the cancellation of his OCI card by Consulate General of India at Houston, US.
The court had asked him to approach the government against the Consulate General's order and directed the authority concerned to decide his case "as expeditiously as possible".
The revisional authority on December 22, 2017, upheld the Consulate General's decision.
In his present plea, the doctor challenged the revisional authority's decision. He also challenged the Consulate General's decision to cancel his OCI card. He also sought directions to the authorities to permit him to visit his family members in Kerala.
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