Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy of Telangana High Court on Wednesday reserved orders in the writ petition filed by Vemulawada MLA Chennamaneni Ramesh of the TRS seeking setting aside of the Centre’s notification cancelling his Indian citizenship.
Controversy had surrounded Mr. Ramesh’s Indian citizenship since 2009. The present writ petition was filed by him during his fourth stint as MLA of Vemulawada challenging the Union Ministry of Home Affairs notification stripping him of Indian citizenship in 2019. Refuting the grounds on which the notification was issued, the MLA’s counsel Y. Rama Rao presented elaborate arguments.
Appearing for the Union of India, Additional Solicitor General T. Suryakaran Reddy contended that the MLA was holding citizenship of two categories. One was under section 10 of the Citizenship Act while the other was Overseas Citizen of India status under section 7B of the Act.
However, holding citizenship under different categories was not permissible under the Act, the ASG told the bench. An overseas Indian citizen can never become MLA of the land. Though the issue of his citizenship had been pending since 2009, he had not decided to give up one of the two citizenships, he said.
Mr. Reddy contended that all the material evidence and papers pertaining to the two different types of citizenship the MLA was claiming were presented before the bench. Justifying the Centre’s notification that continuing Mr. Ramesh’s citizenship was ‘not conducive for public good’, the ASG cited different verdicts of the Supreme Court in the matter.
Senior counsel Ravi Kiran Rao, representing Adi Srinivas of Congress who challenged the MLA’s Indian citizenship, told the bench that Mr. Ramesh secured Indian citizenship in 2009 by concealing facts. A migrant laborer or a layman can be forgiven for misrepresenting facts but a lawmaker should not be spared in case of obtaining citizenship by concealing facts, Mr. Rao said.
“In fact, Mr. Ramesh’s act of withholding facts amounted to perjury. He should be prosecuted for that,” the senior counsel told the bench. Referring to the State government’s contention that the Centre had not consulted it before cancelling the MLA’s citizenship, Mr. Ravi Kiran argued that it was the State government which had all the records that substantiate that the MLA had got citizenship by falsified information.
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