In a significant observation, Madras High Court has noted that even though the parents have renounced their citizenship and have acquired the citizenship of some other country, their unborn child (in the womb) has the right to claim his/her Indian citizenship.
Justice Anita Sumanth was hearing a plea filed by 22 year old Pranav Srinivasan who was seeking Indian citizenship. He has filed a petition seeking directions to quash Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ order dated April 30, 2019.
Parents of the petitioner had renounced Indian citizenship and became citizens of Singapore in December, 1998. He was seven and half month foetus at that time.
He was born on March 1, 1999 in Singapore and acquired its citizenship by virtue of his birth there. He became a major on March 1, 2017. On May 5, 2017, he made a declaration before the Indian Consulate in Singapore seeking resumption of his Indian citizenship.
His application was in Form XXV in terms of Rule 24(1) of the Citizenship Rules 2009, entitled ‘Declaration of Intention to Resume Indian Citizenship under Section 8(2) of the Citizen’s Act made by a person who ceased to be an Indian citizen on the loss of Indian citizenship by his parents in accordance with the provisions of Section 8(1) of the Citizen’s Act.
In the application, he mentioned that he is ceased to be an Indian citizen by virtue of Sub Section (1) of Section 8 of the Act, on April 20, 2012, by reason of the fact that his parents became citizens of Singapore on December 19, 1998, and on that date, he was en ventre sa mere or in the womb of his mother.
He sought renunciation of his Indian citizenship under Section 8(2) as both his parents and grandparents were citizens of India by birth, his grandparents continue to be citizens as on date and he was an Indian citizen at the time when his parents renounced their Indian citizenship.
Justice Anita allowed the petition and stated that a foetus or embryo, particularly one who was seven and a half months on the critical date, that is December 19, 1998, certainly has acquired the status of a child.
The bench stated, “With this status, he acquires citizenship of his parents, i.e, Indian citizenship and one that they renounced on the aforesaid date. Thus the protection/entitlement available under Section 8(2) for resumption of citizenship cannot be denied to him.”
“The impugned order insofar as it seeks to deny the petitioner such status is, in my view, contrary to the clear language and avowed intention of Section 8(2) as well as copious jurisprudence available in this regard. The petitioner is entitled to resumption of citizenship and will be issued a document of citizenship within four weeks,” the bench added.