Allahabad High Court dismissed plea to revoke the citizenship of Akshay Kumar & Alia Bhat for want of jurisdiction
Lalta Prasad Pandey (petitioner) had approached the Allahabad High Court stating that the government should seize the citizenship of actors Akshay Kumar and Alia Bhat as both of them have voluntarily acquired the Citizenship of Canada and UK respectively and that according to the Indian Citizenship Act, any citizen who voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country shall cease to be an Indian citizen. The High Court, however, dismissed the matter due to want of proper jurisdiction.
WHY DID THE COURT DISMISS THE PETITION?
As per Article 226 of the Indian Constitution, every High Court has the power, ‘throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction’, to issue to any person or authority, orders or writs, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution.
The petitioner failed to show that the cause of action, wholly or in part, arose within the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court. Therefore, the petition was not maintainable and had to be dismissed off.
DOES THE PETITIONER HAVE ANY OTHER REMEDY?
The court granted the liberty to the petitioner to approach the appropriate court having territorial jurisdiction or the competent authority to look into the matter.
According to Section 9 of The Citizenship Act, 1955, any citizen who voluntarily acquires the citizenship of another country shall cease to be an Indian citizen. The question regarding how and when any citizen of India has acquired the citizenship of another country shall be determined by the prescribed authority. Rule 30 of The Indian Citizenship Rule, 1956 states that the prescribed authority is the Central Government. Therefore, the decision of the central government in this regard is final.
In Bhagwati Prasad Dixit vs. Rajeev Gandhi (A.I.R. 1986 SC 1534), the election of Rajeev Gandhi from Amethi Parliamentary Constituency was challenged on the grounds of voluntarily acquiring citizenship of Italy by marrying an Italian and acquiring property there. The court held that the question of citizenship has to be determined by the central government and in the absence of such determination, the respondent shall be presumed to be the citizen of India. The High Court has only limited power in this matter.