Citizenship row: HC relief for TRS MLA

Court grants interim stay on Union Home Ministry's order

By Author  |  Published: 22nd Nov 2019  8:11 pm

Hyderabad: In a temporary relief to TRS MLA Chennamaneni Ramesh, the Telangana High Court on Friday granted an interim stay on the Union Home Ministry’s order cancelling his Indian citizenship.

Ramesh approached the court seeking to set aside the ministry’s order issued on Wednesday. Justice Challa Kondanda Ram posted the case for further hearing to December 16. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLA also prayed for suspension of related proceedings pending disposal of his plea. Ramesh, a three-time MLA, was re-elected to the state Assembly from the Vemulawada constituency last year.

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The Union Home Ministry issued the order cancelling the MLA’s Indian citizenship for concealing facts. The issue was related to his visits during the 12-month period immediately preceding his application seeking Indian citizenship.

Y Ramarao, counsel for Ramesh, argued that citizenship deprivation comes only when the person’s behaviour “is not conducive to the public good.”

Reacting to the court’s order, Ramesh said he was happy with the outcome. In its order, the ministry said the competent authority has considered various aspects such as his MLA post and his background. Ramesh, in his representation to the Home ministry, said he had completed his education from Germany and during his stay there, he acquired German citizenship in 1993. He acquired Indian citizenship in 2009.

However, Congress leader, Adi Srinivas, who unsuccessfully contested against Ramesh in the 2009 Assembly elections, challenged his citizenship. Following the intervention by the then Andhra Pradesh High Court, the Union Home Ministry took up his case and declared that he was not an Indian citizen.

Adi Srinivas had argued that Ramesh did not fulfil the criteria of Section 5(1)(f) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Srinivas contended that Ramesh did not fulfil the requirement of residing in India for one year immediately before making an application.

“His misrepresentation/concealment of fact misled the government of India in making its decision initially. Had he revealed the fact that he had not resided in India for one year before making the application, the competent authority in this ministry would not have granted citizenship to him,” the ministry order said.

In its 13-page order, the ministry had said the competent authority has considered various aspects like Ramesh is a sitting MLA and has no criminal background or no criminal case has been filed against him. He has not been reportedly involved in any activity of terrorism, espionage, serious organised crime or war crime, it said.

The 63-year-old legislator had served as a Senior Research Fellow at Humbold University, Germany.