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Prof Ashok Swain again moves Delhi HC against Centre’s fresh order cancelling his OCI card

Indian origin, Ashok Swain.(photo:wikipedia). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Sep 9 : Ashok Swain, who is a Sweden-based Professor of Indian origin, has moved to the Delhi High Court again challenging a fresh order issued by the Centre cancelling his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card.

Notably, the high court on July 10 set aside Centre’s order cancelling the OCI Card of the faculty member of peace and conflict research at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Sweden’s Uppsala University, Swain, observing that other than repeating Sections, no proper reason has been given in the order as to why his registration has been removed.

Swain has contended that he cannot be witch-hunted for his views on current government or its policies.

He has said that despite specific and unequivocal directions of the court to pass a detailed order, the Embassy of India to Sweden & Latvia passed the fresh order in a “callous manner” by merely para-phrasing the provisions of law.

“The Petitioner has an ailing mother aged about 78 years who is suffering from various medical ailments including Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and other age-related ailments. The Petitioner is the only son, and has not been to India in the past 3 years. Thus, there is an extreme urgency for him to visit India and attend to his ailing mother,” the plea said.

Swain has also said that he is a well-known academic and researcher, and that being an Academician, he analyses and criticises certain policies of the present government.

“He cannot be made to suffer for his views on the policies of the government. As a scholar it his role in the society to discuss and critique the policies of Government through his work. The Petitioner cannot be witch-hunted for his views on the political dispensation of the current government or their policies. Criticism of certain policies of the government would not amount to being an inflammatory speech or an Anti-India activity,” the plea added.

The court has listed the matter for next hearing on September 11.

Earluer, he had mentioned in his plea that his OCI card was cancelled in February 2022 as he criticised the current Indian government.

He stated that he has not delivered any inflammatory speech.

An OCI card is issued to a foreign national of Indian origin, who is allowed to live and work in India for an indefinite period.

“The respondents are directed to pass a detailed order giving the reason for exercising its power under Section 7D(e) of the Citizenship Act. The impugned order is set aside. The respondents are directed to complete the exercise in a period of three weeks from today,” the court had said.

“This hardly is an order, doesn’t give any reasons…This hardly gives any indication of the application of mind on the matter. Pass a detailed order with reasons for cancellation,” a single-judge bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad had said as he perused the impugned order.

Swain had argued that his card was cancelled on the alleged premise that he was indulging in inflammatory speeches and anti-India activities, however, there were no specific instances or materials to prove the same.

“It is submitted that the petitioner has never engaged in any inflammatory speeches or Anti-India activities. As a scholar it is his role in society to discuss and criticise the policies of government through his work,” Swain’s petition had read.

It had added: “Being an Academician, he analyses and criticises certain policies of the present government, mere criticism of the policies of the current ruling dispensation shall not tantamount to anti-India activities under Section 7D(e) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.”

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