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Aslam Khan Vs. Fazal Haque Khan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal No. 110 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1959All79
ActsCitizenship Act, 1955 - Sections 5(1) and 5(3); Constitution of India - Articles 5 and 7
AppellantAslam Khan
RespondentFazal Haque Khan and ors.
Appellant AdvocateS.N. Dwivedi and ;K.K. Bajpai, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateD.P. Agarwal and ;Sri Jagdish Sarup, Advs.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....- elected to legislative assembly in year 1957 - election challenged on basis of his not being citizen of india - held, certificate of registration granted under section 5(1) (a) conferred citizenship on appellant. - cantonments act[c.a. no. 41/2006]. section 346 & cantonment fund (servants rules, 1937, rules 13, 14 & 15: [h.l. gokhale, ag. cj, p.v. hardas, naresh h. patil, r.m. borde & r.m. savant, jj] jurisdiction of school tribunal constituted under maharashtra employees of private schools (conditions of service) regulations act, (3 of 1978) held, school run by the cantonment board is a primary school and it is not a school recognised by any such board comparable to the divisional board or the state board. the school tribunal constituted under section 8 of the maharashtra..........even though he had opted for pakistan, he had never renounced nor he has been deprived of his india citizenship nor had his indian citizenship terminated under the citizenship act, 1955. it was further his case that he had not migrated from india to pakistan, so that article 5 of the constitution applied to him and he became an indian citizen at the time of the commencement of the constitution, this contention on behalf of the appellant cannot be accepted.when the appellant opted for pakistan, he clearly did so with the object of residing in pakistan and continuing his service under the government of pakistan, it was, according to his own admission, a final exercise of his option. at that time, persons opting were given the choice either to opt finally or to opt provisionally and.....
Judgment:

V. Bhargava, J.

1. The appellant, Aslam Khan, respondents Fazal Haque Khan, Abdul Hadi Khan and Sita Ram and one Tribeni Sahai Misra were candidates for election to the U. P. Legislative Assembly in the general elections held in February and March, 1957, from No, 60, Rampur constituency. All the live candidates filed nomination papers on 31-1-1957, and, after scrutiny, they were declared duly nominated on 1-2-1957. Tribeni Sahai Misra, who is not a party to this appeal, withdrew his candidature within the time permitted by law.

The polling in the constituency took place on 22-2-1957, and the counting on 1-3-1957. The same day the result was announced and Aslam Khan appellant was declared duly elected. Thereupon Fazal Huque Khan respondent No. 1 filed an election petition before the Election Commission challenging the election of Aslam Khan appellant. The election petition was sent for trial to the Election Tribunal, Rampur. The main ground, on which the election was challenged, was that Aslam Khan appellant was not a citizen of India and, consequently, under Article 173 of the Constitution he was not qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in the Legislature of Uttar Pradesh and, further, for the same reason, he was disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of U. P. Legislative Assembly under Article 191(1)(d) of the Constitution.

The election was also challenged on various other grounds, including commission of corrupt practices, falling under various Sub-sections of Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as amended upto-date. The Election Tribunal held on all points in favour of the appellant except on the question of the appellant being a citizen of India. The finding recorded by the Election Tribunal was that the appellant was not a citizen of India, so that both Articles 173 and 191 applied and the election of the appellant was liable to be set aside. It is against this decision that the appellant has come up in appeal to this Court.

2. The principal point we have to deal with in this appeal, consequently, is whether the appellant was or was not a citizen of India on the relevant dates when the election took place and he was declared duly elected to the U. P. legislature. In considering the question of citizenship, we have to take into account the provisions contained in the Constitution and the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Prior to the commencement of the Constitution, persons residing in the territory of India were British subjects.

The citizenship of India came into existence, for the first time, under the Constitution when India became a republic. Article 5 of the Constitution recognised as a citizen of India every person who had his domicile in the territory of Indian and (a) who was born in the territory of India; or (b) either of whose parents was born in the territory of India; or (c) who had been ordinary resident in the territory of India for not less than five years immediately preceding such commencement. Aslam Khan appellant had his original domicile in the territory of India and he was also born in the territory of India; both his parents were also born in the territory of India. Consequently, if Article 5 of the Constitution could have been applied to him, he would have been a citizen of India under this provision. The Constitution in Article 7, however, made an exception and laid down that

'notwithstanding anything in Articles 5 and 6, a person who has after the first day of March, 1947, migrated from the territory of India to the territory new included in Pakistan shall not be deemed to be a citizen of India.'

It is the admitted case of the parties that the appellant had left India after the first day of March 1947. It appears that the appellant in the year 1947, was in Government service. He had the choice of option of India or Pakistan and he opted for Pakistan. In pursuance of this option exercised by him, he actually went to Pakistan and served under the Government of Pakistan. Later, however, be resigned and came back to India in February 1948.

The contention of the appellant was that, even though he had opted for Pakistan, he had never renounced nor he has been deprived of his India citizenship nor had his Indian citizenship terminated under the Citizenship Act, 1955. It was further his case that he had not migrated from India to Pakistan, so that Article 5 of the Constitution applied to him and he became an Indian citizen at the time of the commencement of the Constitution, This contention on behalf of the appellant cannot be accepted.

When the appellant opted for Pakistan, he clearly did so with the object of residing in Pakistan and continuing his service under the Government of Pakistan, it was, according to his own admission, a final exercise of his option. At that time, persons opting were given the choice either to opt finally or to opt provisionally and give their final decision within six months. The appellant chose to make a final option for Pakistan. The mere fact, therefore, that he later decided to come back in February, 1948, cannot be construed as showing that his option for Pakistan was only temporary or provisional and that he had intended to continue to be a citizen of India and to come back to India.

The final exercise of option in favour of Pakistan was thus clear proof of the fact that he had migrated to Pakistan and this migration took place after the first day of March 1947. As a result, his case is covered by Article 7 of the Constitution and the consequence is that Article 5 of the Constitution did not apply to his case at all. It is to be noticed that the provision in Article 7 of the Constitution does not lay down that a person, who became a citizen of India under Article 5, would lose his Indian citizenship or would cease to be a citizen of India if he migrated to Pakistan.

The language used in Article 7 is that a person, who migrated to Pakistan after the first day of March, 1947, was not to be deemed to be a citizen of India notwithstanding anything in Article 5. The use of the expression notwithstanding anything in Article 5 means that, in such a case, Article 5 does not enure ro the benefit of the person at all and he never becomes a citizen of India. In the case of the appellant, therefore, the provisions of the Constitution would show that he never became a citizen of India in accordance with the principles laid down in the Constitution. When the appellant came back to India in February, 1948, he was, therefore, not a citizen of India and had never before that date been a citizen of India.

3. It is in these circumstances that we have to see how and when the appellant acquired Indian citizenship, if at all. For this purpose we have to examine the provision of the Citizenship Act 1955. Sections 3 and 4 of the Act confer citizenship on certain persons but both these provisions apply to persons born on or after 26-1-1950. Admittedly, the appellant was born long before that date and, consequently, Sections 3 and 4 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, cannot possibly apply to him.The appellant could in these circumstances, acquirecitizenship only by registration under Section 5 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, or by naturalisation under Section 6 of that Act.

The case of the appellant is that he acquired Indian citizenship by registration under Section 5(1)(a) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The contention on behalf of the contesting respondent No. 1 was that the appellant was not entitled to registration under Section 5(1)(a) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, but that his case fell under Section 5(1)(e) of the Act. It was further pleaded that, even if the case of the appellant fell under Section 5(1)(a) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, Section 5(3) of that Act applied to him.

The reason for these contentions by the two parties is that a person covered by the provisions of Section 5(l)(a) of the Act can obtain registration from the Collector of a district, whereas the persons, whose cases fall under Section 5(l)(c) or Section 5(3) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, can obtain registration only from the Central Government. The appellant has filed a certificate of his registration as an Indian citizen granted by the Collector of Rampur dated 31-8-1956. The certificate purports to register the appellant as a citizen of India under Section 5(1)(a) of the Citizenship Act 1955. It is the validity of thiscertificate that has been the main subject-matter of controversy between the parties in this case.

4. We have already indicated above when discussing the provisions of the Constitution that the appellant did not become a citizen of India at thecommencement of the Constitution or when he returned to India in February, 1948. Subsequently, he could only acquire citizenship, as has been mentioned above, by obtaining an appropriate certificate under Section 5 or Section 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The only certificate that has been obtained by the appellant is the one dated 31-8-1956, granted by the Collector of Rampur. Prior to that certificate no other certificate was obtained by the appellant.Consequently, until this registration on 31-8-1956, the appellant had never been a citizen of India.

If he was never a citizen of India, no question could arise of his being deprived of Indian citizenship or of his having renounced Indian citizenship or of his Indian citizenship having terminated under the Citizenship Act, 1955. The question of renunciation, deprivation or termination of Indian citizenship could only arise in the case of a person who was already a citizen of India. The appellant, having never been a citizen of India prior to the date of his registration, no such question could arise in his case, so that it is clear that his case cannot possibly be governed by Section 5(3) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. No doubt, the Citizenship Act 1955, contains provisions in Sections 8, 9 and 10 for renunciation, deprivation and termination of citizenship but those provisions could not apply to the case of the appellant who had never been an Indian citizen before is registration on 31-8-1956. In these circumstances, the plea taken on behalf of respondent No. 1 that the case of the appellant was governed by Section 5(3)of the Citizenship Act, 1955 clearly fails.

5. Next we come to the question whether the appellants' case for registration falls under Clause (a) or (e) of Sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The requirements of Clause (a) are that a person seeking registration must be of Indian origin and must be ordinarily resident of India and has been so resident for six months immediately before making an application for registration. We have already stated above that it is the admitted case of the parties' that the appellant was born in India and so were his parents. so that he is a person of Indian origin. The next requirement that he must ordinarily be resident of India is also satisfied. The evidence on the record discloses that, since his birth, he had lived in India until he migrated to Pakistan in August, 1947. He returned from Pakistan to India in February, 1948, and thereafter he continued to reside in India right up to 31-8-1956, when the certificate was granted to him as also upto the slightly earlier date when he made his application for registration to the Collector of Rampur. It would thus appear that the appellant has lived in India during the whole of his life except for a brief period of about six months between August, 1947, and February, 1948. It is true that, for those six-months, he had gone to Pakistan and had gone with the specific object of migrating from India. The mere fact that he did so for a brief period of six months cannot mean that he has not continued to be ordinarily resident in India. Even a person of any other nationality can be ordinarily resident in India if he resides in India for most of his life and goes out of India only for brief periods. In the case of the appellant, he went out of India for a short period of six months during his life of about 45 years and, consequently, it must be held that he has been ordinarily resident in India and was ordinarily resident in India when he applied for registration. There is, of course, no dispute at all that the third qualification that he had been resident in India for six months before making an application for registration is also satisfied by the appellant. It thus appears that all the requirements of Section 5(1)(a) of the Citizenship Act 1955, are satisfied by the appellant and his case does fall under that provision of law under which the registration certificate could be validly granted to him by the Collector of Rampur who was the prescribed authority for the purpose.

6. There is, however, the question whether the appellant's case is also covered by the provisions of Clause (e) of Sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, and, if so, what would be its effect on the question as to who would be the appropriate authority from whom he had to obtain the certificate of registration. Persons falling under Clause (e) of Sub-section (1) of Section 5 of that Act are those who are of full age and capacity and are citizens of a country specified in the First Schedule. The countries specified in the First Schedule are nine in number and they include Pakistan. The contention on behalf of the respondent was that the appellant, at the time of his registration, was a citizen of Pakistan which is one of the countries enumerated in the First Schedule and, being of full age and capacity, he could apply for registration only under Section 5(1)(e) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. The word 'citizen' for the purpose of the Citizenship Act, 1955, is defined in Section 2(1)(b) of that Act as :

'2 (1)(b) -- 'Citizen,' in relation to a country specified in the First Schedule, means a person who, under the citizenship or nationality law for the time being in force in that country, is a citizen or national of that country.'

Further, Section 2(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, defines citizenship or nationality law in the following words :

'2 (1) (c) : 'Citizenship or nationality law,' in relation to a country specified in the First Schedule, means an enactment of the legislature of that country which, at the request of the Government of that country, the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, have declared to be an enactment making provision for the citizenship or nationality of that country.'

There is a proviso to this definition referring to the Union of South Africa with which we are not concerned, so that it need not be quoted. It is to benoticed that Section 5(1)(e), which we are being asked to apply in the case of the appellant, governs persons who are citizens of a country specified in the First Schedule. The word 'citizen' defined in Section 2(1)(b) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, also refers to the countries specified in the First Schedule, so that the word 'citizen' used in Section 5(1)(e) has to be given the meaning given to it in the definition contained in Section 2(1)(b). Again, in the definition of the word 'citizen' contained in Section 2(1)(b), there is reference to citizenship or nationality law which is itself defined in Section 2(1)(c). The consequence is that Section 5(1)(e) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, can be applied to the case of a person only if that person satisfies the requirements contained in the definition of the word 'citizen' in Section 2(1)(b) and, in deciding this question, the citizenship or nationality law to be taken into consideration must be one satisfying the requirements of Section 2(1)(c) of that Act. In these circumstances, we called upon learned counsel for Respondent 1 to point out to us any notification by the Central Government in the Official Gazette declaring any enactment of the Government of Pakistan to be an enactment making provision for the citizenship or nationality of Pakistan. No doubt, a Citizenship Act was passed it Pakistan which is designated as the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951. A copy of that Act was also available to us in print but learned Counsel for respondent No. 1 was unable to point out or show to the Court any notification by the Central Government in any Official Gazette declaring the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, to be an enactment making provision for the citizenship or nationality of Pakistan. The Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, does not, therefore, satisfy the requirements of a citizenship or nationality law laid down in the definition in Section 2(1)(c) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, end hence the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, cannot be applied to the case of the appellant as it cannot be held that he was at any time a citizen of Pakistan. It appears that, when the appellant migrated to Pakistan in August, 1957, he lost the benefit of Article 5 of the Constitution and never Became a citizen of India. Subsequently, he returned to India in February, 1948, having, very possibly, acquired the citizenship of Pakistan, which citizenship might have been subsequently recognised by the Pakistan Government in accordance with the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951. So far as India was concerned, no declaration was made in respect of the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, by the Central Government so as to constitute it into a citizenship or nationality law, so that, for purposes of applying the provisions of the laws in force in India and for the purpose of considering the citizenship of the appellant in India, the appellant could not be recognised as a citizen of Pakistan.

In February, 1948, therefore, when he came back to India, he was neither a citizen of India nor a citizen of Pakistan. When we have said that he was not even a citizen of Pakistan, we do not mean that Pakistan might not have recognised him as one of its citizens. What we mean is that India did not recognize him as a citizen of Pakistan.

The appellant, not being recognised as a citizen of Pakistan, could not, therefore, come within the provisions of Section 5(1)(e) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, and consequently, any application for registration made by him could not be governed by this provision of law.

In this view, it is unnecessary to go into the further question whether, if the appellant's case had fallen simultaneously within the scope of Clause (a) as well as Clause (e) of Sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, the registration could havebeen validly granted by the Central Government only or also by the Collector. In the case of the appellant, Section 5(1)(e) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, does not apply and, as we have held above he does satisfy all the requirements of Section 5(1)(a) of that Act.

He could therefore, be registered as a citizen of India by the Collector of Rampur who was the prescribed authority and, hence, the certificate of registration as a Citizen of India granted to the appellant on 31-8-1956, by the Collector of Rampur conferred citizenship of India on the appellant. The election took place subsequent to that date and, consequently, on all relevant dates he was a citizen of India and, therefore, there was no bar to his being chosen to fill a seat in the U. P. Legislature either under Article 173 or Article 191 of the Constitution.

The ground, on which the election petition was allowed by the Election Tribunal against the appellant, must, therefore, be decided in favour of' the appellant and he is entitled to succeed in this appeal.

7. As we have mentioned at the outset, respondent No. 1 had taken various other grounds for challenging the election of the appellant, the grounds being those of commission of various corrupt practices. We called upon learned Counsel for respondent No. 1 to inform us if he wanted to support the decision of the Election Tribunal on any of those grounds, and, if so, to put forward his arguments and convince us that the findings recorded by the Election Tribunal in favour of the appellant on those points are liable to be set aside in this appeal.

The learned Judge of the Election Tribunal had to judge the evidence of the witnesses on those various grounds and he has given full and cogent reasons for recording findings on all those grounds in favour of the appellant. Learned Counsel for respondent No. 1 was unable to advance any arguments which could possibly induce us to differ from the view taken by the Election Tribunal and to set aside any of those findings which must be given their due weight, as the Judge, who recorded those findings, had the benefit of seeing the witnesses in the witness box. It does not appear to be necessary, in these circumstances, for us to examine those findings in detail.

8. The appeal is, consequently, allowed, theorder of the Election Tribunal is set aside and theelection petition filed by respondent No. 1 is dismissed with costs in this Court as well as beforethe Election Tribunal. The costs in this Court aswell as before the Election Tribunal shall beRs. 200/- in this Court and the same amount forthe proceedings before the Election Tribunal.


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