Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Parents now Australian citizens, minor left

BENGALURU: A Jayanagar couple, who gave up their Indian citizenship to become Australian citizens, was shocked after their minor son’s Indian passport was withheld citing that both his parents weren’t Indians any more.
As per the Citizenship Act, when a person ceases to be a citizen of India, every minor child of that person shall thereupon cease to be a citizen of India. With the teen left without the blue book, the parents have appealed for an exception, which is now under consideration of the ministry of home affairs (MHA).
It was an unexpected turn of events for the Bengaluru couple, who are both IT professionals and had moved to Australia in 2015.
According to sources in the Regional Passport Office in Bengaluru, the man and woman had settled down in Australia, leaving their minor son in the custody of his grandmother in Jayanagar.
A few years ago, they renounced their Indian citizenship and became Australian citizens, while the boy, who is now 15 years old, had an Indian passport. With the Covid situation easing and India lifting international travel ban, the couple returned to Bengaluru in 2022 and planned to take their son to Australia for a holiday. “They found that their son’s Indian passport had expired and tried to apply for a renewal. That is when the reality hit them. They realised that an Indian passport for a minor is issued or renewed based on the citizenship status of at least one parent. In their case, both the father and mother had renounced Indian citizenship and remained ignorant about the rule,” said an officer concerned with the case.
Section 8 of Citizen Act 1955 reads: “Where a person ceases to be a citizen of India under subsection (I), every minor child of that person shall thereupon cease to be a citizen of India. Providedthat any such child may, within one year after attaining full age, make a declaration that he wishes to resume Indian citizenship and shall thereupon again become a citizen of India. ”
The boy can now apply for an Indian passport after he turns 18, when he will be eligible for the blue book as per passport rules. However, his parents, who hold Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards, have now approached MEA seeking an exception and issuance of passport for him on humanitarian grounds.
Sources with Bengaluru passport office revealed that the matter is now under consideration of MHA,to whom the same was referred by ministry of external affairs.

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