The Supreme Court of India as recently as October 9 took up a petition filed by the Public Law Chair at the London School of Economics, Tarunabh Khaitan, which challenges the termination by default of Indian citizenship upon acquiring another citizenship arguing that it is unconstitutional and issued notices to the Centre.
The petition in which Khaitan specifically challenges sections of the Citizenship Act, 1955 — Section 9(1), the second proviso to Section 4(1), and Section 4(1A) -- holds potential for relief to Goans facing termination of their Indian citizenship for acquiring that of the former colonial ruler Portugal.
Khaitan contends in the petition that these provisions lead to involuntary and automatic termination of Indian citizenship which is not only unconstitutional but also runs counter to the values of the Indian constitutional ethos and violates international law.
The petition is drafted by another legal scholar, Dr Saif Mahmood, and states that deprivation of the 'right to have rights,' akin to exile, making it one of the harshest consequences the law can impose upon an individual for a non-criminal act.
Additionally, it categorizes India among the most restrictive nations, where the loss of citizenship is automatic and involuntary, the petition contends.
Mahmood and senior advocates Chander Uday Singh and PC Sen who presented the case to a bench of Justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh, argued however that Khaitan was not seeking a general recognition of dual citizenship.
It states that involuntary termination of citizenship under the challenged provisions compels individuals to choose between their country of birth (Janmabhoomi) and the protections offered by their country of domicile (Karmabhoomi).