The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a plea seeking the revocation of former Jawaharlal Nehru University student, Kanhaiya Kumar’s Indian citizenship (Nageshwar Mishra v. Union of India).
Terming the petition a cheap attempt at publicity, the Division Bench of Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Shamim Ahmed observed:
“It appears that the present writ petition, filed under the garb of public interest litigation has been preferred with the sole motive of gaining cheap publicity, without even going through the relevant provisions of the Constitution of India and The Indian Citizenship Act, 1955.”
The petitioner, Nageshwar Mishra, prayed for a Court direction to the Indian Government to “deprive” Kanhaiya Kumar of his Indian citizenship.
His Counsel, Advocate Shailesh Kumar Tripathi, relied on Section 10 of the Act in support of his prayer.
Section 10 lists the circumstances in which a person’s citizenship may be revoked by the Central Government. Among the conditions listed are disloyalty to the Constitution through acts or speech, associated with an enemy of the State in wartime, and obtaining citizenship by fraud. These grounds may be invoked only if the Central Government deems the person’s continuing citizenship as against the public good.
The Division Bench noted that the reliance on the section was misconceived given that the revocation under Section 10 applied only to those persons who became citizens by naturalisation or by registration. Kanhaiya Kumar, being a citizen by birth, was not impacted by the Section.
Rebuking Mishra’s Counsel for his reliance on Section 10, the Bench commented:
“From the perusal of the record, it appears that the learned counsel for the petitioner before filing the present writ petition has neither gone through the provisions of Constitution of India nor The Indian Citizenship Act, 1955.”
Adding that the charges slapped against Kumar for his “inflammatory” speeches in Delhi did not warrant the revocation of his citizenship, the Court refused to discuss the merits of the said speeches.
The Court dismissed the petition, imposing an amount of Rs 25,000 as costs to be deposited with the High Court Registry.