LeeAnne Arunoday Singh vs. Ministry of Home Affairs & Ors
W.P. (L) No. 3443 of 2020
The Petitioner has challenged the communications issued by the Respondent- Ministry of Home Affairs directing the Petitioner to surrender the Overseas Citizen of India Card (OCICard).
The High court of Bombay held that an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card issued to someone of foreign origin is to be cancelled upon dissolution of marriage by an appropriate court. A writ petition was filed by the petitioner challenging notice issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs Foreigners Division, seeking the petitioner to surrender her OCI card. The petitioner is a citizen of Canada and got married to Arunoday Singh, who is an Indian Citizen. In 2019, Arunoday filed a petition for divorce under Section 27 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954. Thereafter the petitioner applied for restitution of conjugal rights in Family Court. Later petitioner also filed a transfer petition in Supreme Court for transferring the case to Bhopal.
The Family Court, Bhopal admitting the divorce petition dissolved the marriage. After the dissolution of marriage, notice was sent by the Ministry. Ministry of Home Affairs stated that since her marriage is dissolved, the OCI card issued under Section 7 A (1) (d) of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2015 is liable to be cancelled upon the condition of dissolution of marriage by the competent court and also any special privileges granted will also be withheld.
The Bombay High Court, after hearing all the submissions, rejected the petition and examined Section 7A(1)(d) of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2015. It was observed that the Central Government is empowered to register a spouse of foreign origin of an Indian citizen as ‘Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.’ This also includes certain privileges such as multiple entry visas, exemption from foreigners registration, parity with Non-Resident Indians in some aspects. The High Court of Bombay, after analyzing the submission of the parties and the relevant provisions held that, if the central government is satisfied that the marriage of the OCI cardholder obtained under Sub-section (1) of section 7A is dissolved by the competent court, the OCI card issued under section 7A(1)(d) will be liable to be cancelled.