Supreme Court asks Centre to take humanitarian approach in considering grant of Indian citizenship to Pakistani man

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A Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant today asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) KM Natraj, who was appearing for the Union of India, to adopt a humanitarian approach in granting citizenship to a 62-year-old Pakistani man who came to India in 1989-90.

Speaking for the bench, Justice Chandrachud said, “He is 62 years old, you should also assess what threat he could pose.”

The matter pertains to a man named Mohammad Qumar, who was born to Indian parents in Meerut according to the Times of India. The report further states that Qumar went to Pakistan as an eight-year-old to visit his relatives and his mother passed away before the expiration of his visa period. Thereafter, he continued to stay in Pakistan where he was raised by his mother’s relatives before he could return to India over three decades ago with a Pakistani passport. He married an Indian citizen in Meerut and has six children with her.

Qumar was apprehended by the authorities in 2011 under the Foreigners Act for residing in India despite his visa having expired long ago. Reports claim that despite him having completed his sentence, he was sent to Lampur detention camp in 2015 and has been lodged there since.

It is to be noted that Pakistan has refused to take him back or acknowledge his identity. His daughter Ana Parveen moved the Supreme Court asking the court to grant Qumar bail. She has further pleaded in her petition that Qumar has expressed his desire to become an Indian citizen before the Delhi High Court.

When the matter came up before Supreme Court in February this year, Court had issued notice and had asked the Union of India to file a counter. When the matter came up today, the bench enquired from ASG KM Natraj as to what the union plans to do with Qumar.

The ASG replied, “The counter has been filed. This is a peculiar situation. It is for the State of UP to take a call. The union is trying to do its best.”

The bench then asked the Center to take a humanitarian approach in this regard as the person is over 62 years old. To this, ASG Natraj replied, “Admittedly he has come to the country with a Pakistani passport. Pakistan has refused to acknowledge his citizenship.”

Justice Chandrachud then asked ASG KM Natraj to assist the court as an officer of the court. Upon this, ASG Natraj informed the bench that he will try his best. The matter has been adjourned for the petitioners to file a rejoinder to the counter filed by the government.

Case title: Ana Parveen Vs Union of India