An OCI card has a number of benefits for the holder. (Link to the Article for intro to OCI cards) There are certain requirements (Link to the Article for intro to OCI cards) that a person needs to fulfil in order to be eligible for an OCI card. However, there are instances where the person is denied an OCI card despite fulfilling the criteria due to some clerical error on the part of the authorities or due to inadequacy of the documents submitted by the applicant. This article deals with the remedies a person can avail in case the application for OCI card is rejected.
Common Reasons for rejection of OCI Card
- The order of the documents is not correct.
- The proof that Indian citizenship has been renounced is not adequate.
- The proof of address is not acceptable or no such proof is submitted.
- The applicant is not eligible to obtain an OCI card.
- There is a lack of adequate security clearance.
Remedies when OCI card is rejected
Section 15 of the Citizenship Act provides for the filing of a revision petition before the Central Government if a person is aggrieved by the order of any authority other than the Central Government. This is to be done within a period of 30 days of the order. The government will consider the application and gives its decision.
If a person is not satisfied by the reasons for rejection, a review petition can be filed under Section 15A of the Citizenship Act. Such an application has to be made within a period of 30 days from the date of rejection of an application. If the card is rejected again, a petition can be filed before the High Court regarding the same.
In case, the card is rejected due to incomplete or incorrect information, a fresh application has to be made and the documents need to be submitted correctly or the application will be rejected again. In case the application is rejected again, a petition can be filed before the High Court regarding the same.
Remedy when OCI card is revoked
If the card is revoked by the agencies, an application can be filed under Section 15 of the Citizenship Act before the Ministry of Home Affairs. If the application has been rejected, a petition can be filed before the High Court.
In the case of Dr Christo Thomas Philip v. Union Of India (2019), the OCI card of the petitioner was cancelled on the ground that he was involved in missionary activities in India. The petitioner contended that the allegations are arbitrary and are not based on any evidence and the order cancelling his OCI card should be set aside. The court held that Overseas Citizens of India are entitled to protection under Article 14 and Article 19 of the Constitution of India. It nullified the cancellation of his OCI card and directed the authorities to restore the same. The authorities were also directed to ensure that the petitioner faces no hindrance when entering India.
When an application for an OCI card is made, there is a possibility that there may be some errors in it. It is recommended that the application is cross checked with someone who is experienced in the process and can point out errors.
Moreover, there is a chance that the application maybe rejected by the authorities despite all the details being furnished correctly. In this case, an appeal can be preferred against the order under the relevant sections of the Citizenship Act.
The courts have also ensured that an OCI card is not revoked arbitrarily. Therefore, if you feel that your OCI card has been revoked unfairly, you can approach a lawyer to file a petition before the High Court which can assist in overturning the order of revocation.