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Tibetan moves High Court to get an Indian passport

Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016,15:50 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | A 46-year-old Tibetan has moved the Delhi High Court pushing for implementation of the Indian Citizenship Act to allow him to legally procure an Indian passport.

Lobsang Wangyal in his plea before Justice Manmohan has said that despite being a registered voter, his application for an Indian passport was rejected on the ground that though born in India in 1970, and therefore a citizen, he was of Tibetan descent.

Taking note of the issue raised in the petition, the bench issued notice to the External Affairs Ministry and Department of Immigration and Passports asking them to file their replies before July 27. Wangyal, a journalist by profession, has sought necessary directions to Regional Passport Officer (RPO) to consider Tibetan persons who are born in India on or before January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987 as Indian citizens by law.

Through his counsel, he has submitted that he is currently stateless with no nationality or citizenship. Petitioner is holding a Yellow Book or Identification Certificate which is treated as a travel document within the meaning of Section 4(2)(b) of the Passport Act, 1967, the plea has said. India’s citizen law, passed in 1955, recognised all persons born in the country after January 26, 1950 as citizens.

The law was later amended with the result that those born in the country from July 1, 1987 could no longer claim citizenship by birth unless one of their parents was an Indian citizen. However, the government requires all Tibetans born in the country, irrespective of their date of birth, to register themselves as foreigners once they reach the age of 16 years.

The registration gives them a temporary but renewable permit to remain in the country. For overseas travel, they are issued an Identity Certificate instead of a passport.

The petitioner has said he had made an application for issuance of a passport on August 29, 2014, but it was not accepted by the RPO on the ground that he is a holder of Yellow Book/Identification Certificate. He was advised to apply for Indian Citizenship in order to be eligible for issuance of Passport, the plea has said.

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