The High Court of Himachal Pradesh has passed an order stating that being a citizen of India is essential in order to be granted a bonafide domicile/ resident certificate. Justice Ajay Mohan Goel heard the suit Kumari Beena v. State of Himachal Pradesh which was challenging the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner where the petitioner’s request for issuance of bonafide certificate was rejected.
The petitioner’s case states that she was residing in Shimla since the year 1997 and it has been claimed by the petitioner that as per the provisions mentioned in the Handbook on Personnel Matters (Vol-1) issued by the Personnel Department of the Government of Himachal Pradesh, she is eligible for Himachali bonafide certificate. The challenged order as passed by the Deputy Commissioner had rejected the claim of the petitioner on the specific grounds that the Himchali Bonafide Certificate can be issued to only those persons who are a citizen on India and as the petitioner is not the citizen of India, she cannot be issued a bonafide certificate of the state she is residing in. The petitioner’s side contended that the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner was not justifiable in the eyes of law as citizenship is not a pre-requisite condition for issuing the Himachali Bonafide certificate. It was further added by the petitioner that similar certificates are issued to those people who are living in that a place for a considerable time. The Judge also observed that the petitioner is mainly relying her claim on the provisions of Handbook on Personnel Matters (Vol-1) where it has been explicitly defined a Bonafide Himachali and the terms as to who is entitled to the Bonafide Himachali certificate. As per the terms, anyone who has been a resident of the state of Himachal Pradesh for a period of 15 years can be granted the bonafide certificate.
The Handbook on Personnel Matters incidentally consists of three volumes and many other notifications issued by the Department of Personnel of the Government of Himachal Pradesh. These notifications are issued from time to time by the Government of Himachal Pradesh relating to the manner and method of presenting appointments to persons in a government job and other matters incidental thereto. The Bench also noted that “In my measured view, the contention of learned Counsel for the petitioner, stating that citizenship has got nothing to do with the issuance of Bonafide Certificate doesn’t have any merit.” The Judge also explained that the reason behind why citizenship is important for the issuance of the bonafide certificate, and he stated that it is more of a condition precedent to own a Himachali Bonafide certificate in order to be eligible to apply for any government job in Himachal Pradesh. The bench observed that it is very well evident that the petitioner is not of Indian nationality as it has been known that she belongs to the nationality of Nepal. Earlier, the impugned order records that the applicant had tried to prove her citizenship on the basis of her birth certificate issued by the Registrar, (Birth and Death) Municipal Corporation, Shimla which mentions that the petitioner was born at Bachiter Bhawan, Dingra Estate, Boileauganj, Shimla on 7/2/1997. The petitioner also stated that as per Section 3 (1) of the Citizenship Act 1955, is applicable to the applicant which provides that “except as provided in sub-section (2), every person born in India on or after the 1st day of July 1987, but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 (6 of 2004) and either of whose parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth; shall be considered the citizen of India. But the disputed order had mentioned that the applicant has failed to produce any legit documents proving that either of her parents was holding Indian citizenship at the time of her birth and thus her claim for issuance of certificate was rejected by the Deputy Commissioner. Lastly, the Judge mentioned that “In my considered view the inferences made by the Deputy Commissioner are correct findings as the petitioner doesn’t happen to be a citizen of India and thus the denial of Bonafide Himachali certificate to petitioner by the Deputy Commissioner cannot be faulted with.” [READ ORDER]