Minors Can Hold Dual Citizenship: Delhi HC  - Vibes Of India

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Minors Can Hold Dual Citizenship: Delhi HC 

| Updated: March 25, 2024 12:25

The court emphasised that the Citizenship Act supersedes passport rules

In a significant judgement, the Delhi High Court stated that the Citizenship Act of 1955 supersedes provisions in the Passport Manual, 2020. As a result, minors can hold dual citizenship, the court ruled.

The HC stressed that a subordinate legislation cannot override a primary legislation. 

Justice Subramaniam Prasad passed an order recently on an appeal by two minor children challenging the authorities’ decision to revoke their Indian passports and refusal to reissue them. The HC ordered the passports to be issued to the children. 

The children were born to Indian parents who later migrated to the US. They sought the court’s intervention to get the authorities to issue them Indian passports free of charge. The plea highlighted that their father had selected to retain his Indian citizenship, while their mother acquired US citizenship under Section 9 of the Citizenship Act. 

In its verdict in favour of the children, the HC made it clear that they fulfilled the criteria outlined in Section 4(1) (A) of the Citizenship Act, which stipulates that a minor holding citizenship of India and another country must renounce one of them within six months of reaching adulthood to retain Indian citizenship.

The court referred to a circular issued in February 2011 which acknowledged that minors may hold dual citizenship until they reach the age of majority and decide to renounce one citizenship. Even the government recognised a minor’s entitlement to an Indian passport and the option to renounce foreign citizenship to maintain Indian nationality, the court stressed. 

The authorities took the stand that according to passport rules, under no circumstances can an Indian citizen, including a minor, possess an Indian and a foreign passport at the same time. 

But the HC pointed out that the Passport Manual of 2020, cited by the authorities to justify their decision, contradicted the Citizenship Act. 

“Clearly, the Passport Manual is at variance with Section 4 of the Citizenship Act, which will undoubtedly prevail over the Passport Manual. It is clear that the subordinate legislation cannot override the parent legislation,” the court said. 

Consequently, the court observed that there was no legal impediment to granting the petitioners’ request.

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