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On 27 January, the Karnataka High Court has granted bail to a Bangladeshi Christian illegal migrant, on the pretext of the provisions of the latest amended Citizenship Act, 2019.

The bench headed by Justice John Michael Cunha observed that section 2 of the Citizenship Amendment Act provides that, any person Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made thereunder, shall β€˜not’ be treated as an illegal migrant for this Act.

Archona Purnima Pramanik, a Christian Bangladeshi National was alleged that she had illegally migrated to India. She later obtained Indian documents like PAN Card, Aadhaar Card in her name after which she has fraudulently obtained Indian Passport on the strength of her PAN and Aadhaar documents.

She was later detained in November 2019 and was charged under sections 465, 471, 468 of IPC, sections 5, 12 and 14 of Foreigners Act, 1946 and section 3(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

The applicant filed a bail application before the High Court contending that under the latest amended act of 2019 i.e. Citizenship Amendment Act, she cannot be treated as an illegal migrant and that all the proceedings initiated against her shall stand abated on conferment of the Act.

The bench granted her conditional bail stating that β€œthe allegations made against the petitioner that she has fabricated and manipulated the documents relating to her identity namely Aadhar Card, PAN card and Passport and on the strength of these documents, she has been claiming to be a citizen of India is required to be established during the trial.”

However, the petitioner has pleaded that all these documents were lawfully obtained by her after following due procedure and under the said circumstances, given the Amendment to the Citizenship Act. The court stated that the petitioner is entitled to be enlarged on bail until the allegations made against her are established in a full-dressed trial.


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