AADHAR, PAN And VOTER ID Not Conclusive Proof of Citizenship: Patna HC

The instant appeal was filed against the order dated 21.01.2020 passed by the Hon’ble Single Judge Patna High Court. The appellant election was set aside by order of the Court. 

A Division Bench of the Patna High Court upheld the order passed by the Learned Single Judge. It held that just because a person has relinquished citizenship of another country, then the person will not automatically become a Citizen of India.

Mrs Kiran Gupta was a citizen of Nepal who married an Indian citizen Mr Ashok Prasad Gupta. Shehad been residing with him ever since. After her marriage, in her name she has an account with a bank in India, a Pan Card issued to her by the Income Tax Department, and an Aadhaar Card etc.

Controversy in the instant case arose when Mrs Gupta was elected as a Mukhiya of Gram Panchayat, Manek Chowk, Block-Runnisaidpur, District. Her election was set aside by the State election Commission vide order dated 09.08.2019. 

Aggrieved, she approached the High Court of Patna. The Court upheld the ruling of the State Election Commission. It held that because she had voluntarily relinquished her Citizenship of Nepal and was also not a citizen of India, her disqualification under the Panchayat Act was valid.

The order of the Single Judge was challenged before the Division Bench of the Patna High Court.

Issues Before the Court

The main issue before the Court was whether the appellant was a citizen of India or not. The other issues before the Court were if the State Election commission had the Power to set aside the election of Mrs Gupta on the ground that she was not a citizen of India if a person voluntarily relinquished her citizenship then is she automatically a citizen of India, can having a Pan Card, Adhar etc. is a proof of citizenship, Can the appellant’s status of Statelessness be remedied as per Indian Law.

The reasoning of the Patna High Court

The Patna High Court took up each issue one by one and held the following:-

  • Hon’ble Patna High Court referred to its decision in Rajani Supra case. It held that the State election Commission had the Power to set aside her election on the ground that she was not an Indian citizen.
  • A reference was made to the Supreme Court’s decision in the case State Trading Corporation of India Ltd and held that the right to Indian CItizenship flows from Part 2 of the Constitution of India and the Citizenship Act. Just because the appellant relinquished her Citizenship of Nepal, she will not become an Indian citizen automatically.
  • By placing reliance on the Supreme Court’s Judgment in the State of U.P. v. Rehmatullah and other similar cases, the Court held that just because the appellant had a Voter Id Card, Pan Card and Aadhar Card, it cannot be held as a proof of Indian citizenship.

Decision of the Patna High Court

Hon’ble Patna High Court held that there was no perversity or illegality in the judgement passed by the Hon’ble Single Judge or the order of the State Election Commission. Accordingly, the appeal was dismissed.

Case Detail:-

Title: Kiran Gupta vs State Election Commission & Ors

Case No. Letters Patent Appeal No.139 of 2020 

Date of Order: 12.10.2020

Coram; Hon’ble Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Hon’ble Justice S. Kumar

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