The Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to decide within eight weeks the plea of a US-based Indian-origin doctor challenging the cancellation of his OCI registration for alleged missionary activities in Bihar. Justice Vibhu Bakhru issued the direction to the central government after it said that under the Citizenship Act 1955, the petitioner can seek revision of the decision taken by the Consulate General of India at Houston in USA to cancel his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) registration. OCI is a scheme, introduced in response to the demands for dual citizenship by the Indian diaspora living abroad.
The court asked the man to approach the government against the Consulate General’s August 1 order and directed the concerned authority to decide his case “as expeditiously as possible”, within a period of eight weeks from August 21. With the direction, the court disposed of the plea of Christo Thomas Philip, a medical doctor specialising in emergency medicines. According to his plea, filed through advocate Dhiraj Philip, he was serving as a volunteer doctor with Duncan Hospital at Raxaul in Bihar from January 2014 till he was allegedly “unlawfully deported” on April 26, 2016 from the IGI Airport here. According to his plea, while his wife and children were allowed to go through immigration, he was put in detention at the airport and then sent back to Istanbul in Turkey through where his flight from Spain had arrived. In Istanbul, he was kept in a cell with 25 others for 24 hours after which he was sent to Spain where again he was escorted out by police personnel, the petition has alleged. He was not given any reason for his deportation, his plea said and contended that he was “deprived of his dignity and treated in an inhumane manner at the detention centre in Delhi and Istanbul in gross violation of his fundamental right to life and liberty”, the petition claimed.
The petitioner, born in Kerala to Indian parents in June 1982, claimed that he had challenged his deportation in the high court and the government had said during the hearing that it was recommending cancellation of his OCI registration for “indulging in evangelical and subversive activities”. The government had, thereafter, also issued a look out circular (LOC) against him which he came to know in December 2016, his plea said. In May this year, during the hearing of his first petition challenging his deportation, the government said it has been decided to cancel his OCI registration and he was informed on August 1 that his OCI registration stood cancelled. Subsequently, he moved a fresh plea challenging the cancellation of his OCI registration which was granted to him in November 2012.