In a recent ruling, a single-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court denied the plea of two children seeking Indian citizenship. The children, born to an Indian mother and a Pakistani father, were directed by the Indian consulate to surrender their Pakistani passports to obtain Indian citizenship.
The children obtained temporary passports on humanitarian grounds in 2021 to return to their mother’s native home in Bengaluru while their citizenship application was pending with the Ministry of Home Affairs. However, their application was subsequently denied.
The government counsel argued that dual citizenship is not permitted as per the Citizenship Act, since Pakistani law only permits citizenship surrender at age 21. The bench noted that unless the children renounce their Pakistani citizenship, they cannot become Indian citizens. The court emphasized that the children are currently citizens of Pakistan and are not stateless.
The petitioners’ counsel argued that the children are currently without identity, but the court did not find this argument compelling. The court clarified that if the petitioners fulfill the necessary conditions for citizenship, this ruling would not obstruct their citizenship application.
The children’s parents were originally married in Dubai and divorced in 2014, with the mother obtaining custody of the children as per an agreement filed before a court in the UAE. The current ruling highlights the complex legal issues surrounding citizenship and international family law.