Plea in HC against loss of OCI status by foreign spouse on divorcing Indian national

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New Delhi, Jan 27 (PTI) A plea has been moved in the Delhi High Court by a Belgium national challenging a provision of the Citizenship Act under which a foreign spouse of an Indian national would lose Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status on divorce.

The petition also seeks setting aside of the February 26, 2020 decision of the Indian Embassy in Belgium by which her OCI status was cancelled.

The woman has contended that the decision to cancel her OCI status has no basis in law and 'also violates the twin doctrines of legitimate expectation and promissory estoppel for the simple reason that she was already divorced when she received her OCI card on February 15, 2017.

She has said in her petition that she received the OCI card when the Indian government merged the Person of Indian Origin (POI) and OCI schemes.

'Hence, the concerned provisions of the Citizenship Act by way of which a foreign national married to an Indian citizen loses her right to hold an OCI card in case of divorce have no application to her whatsoever,' she has claimed in her plea.

She had received her POI card in 2006 and it was valid till August 2021, the petition has said and added that she had divorced her husband in 2011 which was communicated to the Indian embassy in Belgium in 2016. She has also said that she has a daughter, who holds an OCI card, with her ex-husband and since during the prevailing pandemic tourist travel to India is not possible, their only hope of coming here to meet relatives was the OCI card.

'There is also the very real chance that if the daughter of the petitioner travels to India and is stranded because of some sudden travel restrictions that might be imposed, the petitioner might end up getting separated from her on a medium-term basis,' the petition has said. PTI HMP RKS RKS