The High Court of Madras as reported on 18th February, 2020 has put forth a restraint on the Central and the State Governments from deporting a Sri Lankan woman who has been living in Sivaganga, a district in Tamil Nadu back to her country. Her citizenship application had been submitted in 2018 and the decision is yet to be taken by the authorities.
Justice S S Sundar passed after hearing the two petitions filed by Veeran Manonmani in 2018. The woman had sought directions from the Central Government to consider her citizenship application under section 5 (1)(c) of the Citizenship Act of 1955 - "(1) Subject to the provisions of this section and such other conditions and restrictions as may be prescribed, the Central Government may, on an application made in this behalf, register as a citizen of India any person not being an illegal migrant who is not already such citizen by virtue of the Constitution or of any other provision of this Act if he belongs to any of the following categories, namely:— (c) a person who is married to a citizen of India and is ordinarily resident in India for seven years before making an application for registration;"
Veeran had also filed another petition that sought the direction to not deport her or take any adverse action till the application is disposed. The woman got married to an Indian citizen - Kurumbiah Karuppiah, in 2003 and her marriage has been registered by the Registrar of Marriage in the Sivaganga district. The petitioner further registered herself with the foreigners registeration officer cum Superintendent of Police at Sivaganga and thereby her visa was extended by the officer. The application for citizenship was submitted on June 7th, 2018 through an online portal that is currently being maintained by the joint Secretary of Foreigners Division of Home Ministry. The application was kept pending and her visa was supposed to expire on October 11th, 2018. The counsel who appeared on behalf of the Ministry has contended that the petitioner's application is under consideration tantamount to the regulations and laws.
The judge has directed the collector to forward Manonmani's application to the Ministry along with the recommendations within two months. Further to which he also said that the online application needs to be disposed with merit in accordance with law within four months. The judge has restrained the authorities from deporting or taking coercive steps under the Foreigners Act of 1946 till the disposal of the citizenship application. Further to which, a statement of the Additional Government Pleader has been recorded to provide assurance on the ongoings.
Author - Dyuti Pandya