Woman Living In India For 55 Years Moves Bombay High Court For Citizenship

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A 66-year-old woman living in India for over 50 years without any citizenship documents or an Indian passport approached the Bombay High Court on Friday seeking that the Union government be directed to grant her citizenship.
The Indian-origin woman, Ila Popat, claimed in her plea filed before a bench led by Justice SV Gangapurwala that she was born in Uganda in East Africa and came to India on her mother’s Indian passport in 1956 when she was ten years old.

She got married to an Indian citizen 10 years later, and now has two children and several grandchildren, all of them Indian citizens. She applied for an Indian passport three times during these years but her request was rejected each time because of lack of documents.

She told HC that only in 2018-19 she was told by officials she should have applied for Indian citizenship first before seeking an Indian passport.

Accordingly, in 2019, the petitioner applied for citizenship online but the same was rejected by the authorities because of an “inadvertent mistake” in her visa details.

The Union government’s counsel, Advait Sethna, told HC Popat could be granted citizenship only if she submitted her birth certificate or any other requisite document proving her origins and how she came to India.

Sethna also suggested the petitioner could approach the embassy in Uganda and get the requisite documents from them.

The HC will hear the plea further on August 22.

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