Tibetans in India

Tibetans in India – High Court to the rescue of

The Tibetan Refugees in India have been facing a peculiar dilemma.
Even though many of them are born in India and acquire Indian citizenship by birth, they have to describe themselves as Tibetan Nationals.
They are issued identity cards by the Indian Government permitting them to stay in India.

They face peculiar problems such as getting passports, etc.

Recently in:

W.P.(C) 12179 / 2009
Decision Dated : December 22, 2010
NAMGYAL DOLKAR ….. Petitioner
versus
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS ….. Respondent

the Delhi High Court had occasion to decide such a case.

The Court observed that:
“23. The amended Section 3(1)(a) reads as under: ―
3. Citizenship by birth:- (1) Except as provided in sub-section (2), every born in India, –
(a) on or after the 26th day of January 1950, but before the 1st day of July, 1987.‖ (b) …….
(c) …..
Shall be a citizen of India by birth.”

The Court went on to hold:

“28. In the considered view of this Court, the above ground for rejection of the Petitioner‘s application for passport is untenable. As already noticed, the concept of  ‘nationality’ does not have legislative recognition in the CA.

The Petitioner‘s describing herself to be a Tibetan ‘national’ is really of no legal consequence as far as the CA is concerned, or for that matter from the point of view of the policy of the MEA. The counter affidavit makes it clear that the MEA treats Tibetans as ‘stateless’ persons. Which is why they are issued identity certificates which answers the description of travel documents within the meaning of Section 4(2)(b) PA. Without such certificate, Tibetans face the prospect of having to be deported. They really have no choice in the matter. It must be recalled that when her attention was drawn to the fact that she could not hold an identity certificate and a passport simultaneously, the Petitioner volunteered to relinquish the identity certificate, if issued the passport. That was the correct thing to do, in any event. The holding of an identity certificate, or the Petitioner declaring, in her application for such certificate, that she is a Tibetan national, cannot in the circumstances constitute valid grounds to refuse her a passport.”

I am giving the link to the full judgement: 

http://lobis.nic.in/dhc/SMD/judgement/22-12-2010/SMD22122010CW121792009.pdf

This is a most welcome judgement.  

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