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"Ghar Wapasi" after 21 years of exile

Hearing a writ petition by Luingam Luithui, an Indian national, against Union of India, the Delhi High Court permitted two stranded Indian citizens to return to India after 21 years of exile

In a writ petition by Luingam Luithui & ors. against Union of India, Delhi High Court gave two Indian Citizens the right to come back after being stranded in a foreign nation for over 21 years after procedural lapses, apathy and illegal denial of passport by the Indian Government.

Luingam Luithui, a citizen of Manipur sought help from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees before being able to approach Delhi HC to get his and his wife’s passport released from the Indian Government. The couple were in Bangkok when the wife’s passport was stolen and even after applying to the Indian Embassy, the duplicate was not issued. The Central Government justified its action by stating that Luingam was an active assisting leader of Isak Swu Faction (Nationalist Social Council of Nagaland) which has been termed unlawful under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.

The helplessness forced them to go for their only legal recourse available which was in public international law and presented themselves before UNHCR. UNHCR found them to be well within the meaning of refugees and relocated them to Canada.

The Indian High Commission in Canada without giving any reason impounded Luingam’s passport. The court held that this step was in violation of Section 10 of the Passports Act wherein it states that a brief writing statement mentioning reasons shall be recorded and a copy of the same shall be furnished to the passport holder. Additional Solicitor General appearing for Union of India contended that since they acquired Canadian passports, they were deemed to have acquired the citizenship of that country. The court rejected this contention and held that the necessary consideration of the issue has to be looked after, as in, if the acquisition was voluntary or led by the any relevant circumstances.

The court found the whole issue extremely distressing and has now ordered the court to issue passport to the couple within 10 weeks. Eventually, the couple would be renouncing the Canadian Citizenship.

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Reviewed by:
Simran Bhullar
Published on 14-Sep-17

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