Calcutta HC: Residential certificate not a proof of citizenship

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Calcutta High Court has recently in the case connected to one Khadija Begum made the observation that residential certificate is not a proof of citizenship.

The Single Bench comprising Justice Bibek Chaudhari noted that residential certificate can be obtained by any resident if a person stays at a particular place either being an Indian National or Foreign National.

The bail application of Khadija Begum was rejected by the Court in the case registered against her in January under Section 14 and Section 14C of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

Section 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946 criminalizes violation of the conditions of VISA and prescribes punishment of imprisonment that may extend to 5 years and fine.

While 14C provides penalty for abetting any offence punishable under sec. 14, 14A or 14B of the Act.

To claim the Indian citizenship, the petitioner argued that she was a resident of Bangalore, where a Local Tahsildar had issued a residential certificate in her name.

The Court rejected her plea while making observation ,“It is needless to say that a residential certificate may be obtained by any resident, he may be an Indian National or Foreign National, if he stays at a particular place. Residential certificate is not a proof of citizenship.”

Similarly last year Gauhati High Court held that land revenue receipts, PAN Card, Bank Documents do not prove the Indian citizenship.

The Calcutta High Court has also observed that school certificate, electoral photo ID card are not a conclusive proof of citizenship and cannot be considered while assessing whether a person is a foreigner under the Assam Accord of 1985.

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