NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Monday set aside an order by the Centre revoking the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) status of Sweden-based academic Ashok Swain.
HC said the February 2022 order of the central government “does not give any reasons” and “hardly gives any indication of application of mind”.
“Other than repeating the section (under which the OCI card was cancelled) as a mantra, no reason is given in the order as to why the registration of the petitioner as a OCI card holder has been revoked,” Justice Subramonium Prasad noted.
The court was hearing a petition by Swain, a resident of Sweden, against the cancellation of his OCI card.
Observing that the Centre’s decision was “hardly an order”, the judge directed the Centre to pass a detailed order within three weeks giving the reasons for exercising its powers under the Citizenship Act, 1955.
“Where are the reasons for not finding the explanation (of the petitioner) satisfactory? You pass a reasoned order,” the judge said.
The counsel for the Centre submitted that the agencies had got information and the order was passed on studying the documents.
On February 8, 2022, the central government cancelled Swain’s OCI card. Swain challenged the decision in HC, contending that the authorities had not given him “a fair and just opportunity, in violation of his right to free movement”.
Swain, a professor and HOD of department of peace and conflict research at Sweden’s Uppsala University, said in his plea that pursuant to a show-cause notice issued in 2020, his OCI card was “arbitrarily barred on the alleged premise that he was indulging in inflammatory speeches and anti-India activities”.
“The petitioner has never engaged in such activities. As a scholar, it is his role in society to discuss and critique the policies of the government through his work. Being an academician, he analyses and criticises certain policies of the present government. Mere criticism of the policies of the current dispensation shall not tantamount to anti-India activities under Section 7D(e) of the Citizenship Act, 1955,” the plea submitted.
“The petitioner cannot be made to suffer or witch-hunted for his views on the policies of the government,” it added.
Swain also said in his plea that he has been unable to visit India for over two years, but needs to do so to attend to his ailing mother.
HC then issued a notice on December 8 last year, granting time to the Centre to state its stand.

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