1. By this writ petition Mushtaq Husain prays for a mandamus commanding the State of Uttar Pradesh to forbear from interfering with his right to settle and reside in any part of India.
2. The petition is accompanied by an affidavit of his father, Iqbal Husain, The allegations, material to the case as argued, are : The petitioner was born in 1940 in India, and in 1,951 he was reading in Dr. Ghosh Modern College. Allahabad. In the Dasehra holidays of that year he went to Delhi and thence he crossed over to Pakistan. When it wasdiscovered in 1954 that he was in Pakistan, his father asked his friends in that country to arrange for his send-back to Allahabad. A passport was then obtained for him and he came back in 1954.
The father consulted some persons as to his permanent stay in India, but no decision could be taken before the expiry of the prescribed period of his stay, and he had to leave for Pakistan. He came to India several times thereafter, and in 1956 his visa was extended up to 21-1-1957. But any furtherextension was refused by the respondent, and the petitioner was warned that his unauthorised stay in India would 'make him liable for action under theForeigners Act, 1946, as amended by the Foreigners' Laws (Amendment) Act, 1957.' Apprehending that he would be forcibly deported on the expiry of the period of his visa the petitioner has rushed to this Court for protection under Article 226 of the Constitution.
3. On behalf of the respondent a counter-affidavit has been filed by Sri Janki Jiwan Misra, Sub-Inspector, Local Intelligence Unit, Allahabad. The affidavit bears an annexure which is the copy of the petitioner's visa application dated 7-5-1956. It is denied that the petitioner is a minor.
4. The petitioner has not filed a rejoinder-affidavit to contradict the averments contained in Sri Janki Jiwan Misra's affidavit. In November 1959 he has, however, made some additions, to tha grounds in his petition,
5. Sri Kackar, learned counsel for the petitioner, seeks to support the petition on two grounds only, which have been added in November 1959. These grounds are :
(1) The petitioner was a natural-born British subject on the date of his entry from Pakistan into India and therefore was not a foreigner within the meaning of that term in Section 2, Foreigners Act 1946 :
(2) The petitioner held a valid passport and visa at the time of his entry from Pakistan into India in accordance with Rule 5 of the Indian Passport Rules, 1950, and he could not therefore, be deported under Section 5, Indian Passport Act 1920.
6. The term 'foreigner' was defined by Section 2(a), Foreigners Act, 1946 (hereinafter called the Act), as follows :
' 'Foreigner' means a person who --(a) is not a natural born British subject as defined in Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 1 of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914 (4 and 9 Geo. 5C 17).. . . .'
7. There is no dispute that the petitioner was 'born in India and was a natural born British subject. He was, therefore, not a foreigner within the meaning of the Act at the time of his entry in 1956 from Pakistan into India. Sri Kackar's contention is, however, grounded on the definition of the term 'foreigner' in the Act, as it stood before its amendment in 1957. The Foreigners' Laws (Amendment) Act, 1957, substituted for Clause (a) of Section 2 of the Act the following clause :
'(a) 'Foreigner' means a person who is not a citizen of India;'
8. In view of the change in the definition, the petitioner, who was not foreigner at the time of his entry from Pakistan into India, would be a foreigner after the passing of the Foreigners' Laws (Amendment) Act, 1957, if he is not a citizen of India.
9. For obtaining a visa for India the petitioner made an application to the proper Indianauthority On 7-5-1956. The pertinent portion of the application reads thus :
'Application for Visa for India (other than Category 'D' Visa)
Name of applicant in full (Block Letter)
Date of birth
Place of birth
Allahabad, U. P.
Visa applied for
(a) Category 'C'. (b) Duration 3 months.(c) Commencing from 9th May, 1956. (d) Number of visit desired one.
Object of visit.
To see mother, father etc.
Place of visit breaks of Journey in transit desired
If you have migrated from India to Pakistan on orafter the first March 1947 state
(a) Approximate date of migration about August1951.
26. I hereby declare that all the statement and information given by me in this application are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. I realize that should any of the above statements be found to be false, untrue or incorrect, my visa will be liable to cancellation by any competent authority and I will be liable to such other penalties as may be prescribed by the laws of India.
Signature of the applicant.'
10. It is evident from the application that the petitioner has admitted the date of his birth as 10-6-1936, and his nationality as Pakistani. His father's affidavit seeks to explain his admission regarding the date of birth by the fact that, though a minor, he was shown as a major to obtain a passport, which was under the law issuable only to a major. But the affidavit, it strikes curious, offers no explanation for the petitioner's admission regarding his Pakistani nationality. Even at the time of arguments no effort was made to explain why and in what circumstances the petitioner happened to make the admission.
11. Sri Kackar also did not argue that the petitioner was in fact a minor on the date of his applying for the visa in May 1956. The counter-affidavit claimed that he was not a minor, and his application indicates that he was then a major, I am, therefore, inclined to hold that he was a major in May 1956. Now, a person who is a major would not normally profess a nationality which is not his own, and for want of any explanation I am obliged to presume that the petitioner's admission in his visa application regarding his Pakistani nationality Ss true, and that he is a national of Pakistan.
12. The line of approach I have adopted has also commended itself to a Division Bench of the High Court of Bombay in State v. Ibrahim Nabiji, AIR 1959 Bom 525. In that case, Sri Shah, J. said at p. 527,
'The circumstance that the respondent being originally a British subject was not a foreigner, within the meaning of that expression as used in the Foreigners Act, 1946, before it was amended, will not come to his aid. Since the amendment of the Act he has to establish that he holds the status of a citizen of India before he can resist enforcement of an order validly passed against him in exercise of the authority conferred under Section 3 of the Foreigners Act. Prima facie, when a person enters India under a passport issued by a foreign country and under a visa obtained by him on an application submitted bv him claiming that he was a national of a foreign country and that he desired to visit India for alimited period, it may be assumed that he is not a citizen of India.'
13. Before migrating to Pakistan in 1951 the petitioner was a citizen of India under Article 5 of the! Constitution. The question now is whether, he is still a citizen of India, notwithstanding his avowed Pakistani nationality.
14. Sub-section (1) of Section 9, Citizenship Act, 1955, declares inter alia that any citizen of India, who has; at any time between 26-1-1950, and the commencement of that Act. voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country, shall cease to be a citizen of India from the date of the commencement of the Act. Sub-section (2) thereof provides that if any question arises as to whether any person has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country, it shall be determined by such authority as may be prescribed in this behalf. By Rule 30, Citizenship Rules, 1955 the Central Government is nominated as the appro-priate authority for purposes of Section 9(2).
15. Sri Kackar addressed no arguments on the question whether the petitioner is still a citizen of India, and hence not a foreigner under the amended definition of that word in the Act. At first I was inclined to decide the question, but on the second thought I prefer to abstain from doing so for several reasons. The matter cannot be decided without first resolving the related complicated question of fact whether the petitioner has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of Pakistan. A writ proceeding is hardly appropriate for an elaborate factual inquiry.
The onus of proving that he has not voluntarily acquired the citizenship of Pakistan is on him. But the petition was originally founded on the ground that the petitioner was a minor and his citizenship followed the citizenship of his parents. This ground was subsequently given up and reliance was placed upon the unamended definition of the term 'foreigner' in the Act. It seems to me that at no stage of the case the petitioner had in mind the amended definition, and there is accordingly no evidence that he did not voluntarily acquire Pakistani nationality.
It is, therefore, neither possible or fair to decide tile matter. Again, the question of citizenship is essentially political in nature, and the Central Government should be permitted to decide the matter in the first instance. The Court should not ordinarily take the matter into its own hands until it is absolutely necessary for protecting the liberty of a person. So far no action has been taken against the petitioner. If and when any action is taken, he may ask the Central Government to decide whether he is a citizen of India. I have no doubt that the Government would decide the question according to law and would not overlook legality for effectiveness.
16. To my mind, the writ petition is premature and no interference is called for at this Stage. Further, in the circumstances of this case, a suit, not a writ proceeding, is the appropriate remedy. The petition is also liable to be dismissed for the failure to discharge the onus of proving that the petitioner has not voluntarily acquired the Pakistani nationality.
17. There is another sound reason why the Court should abstain from interposing relief in favour of the petitioner. In his visa application dated 7-5-1950 he Had requested for a category 'C' visa for three months commencing from 9-5-1956 for the purpose of seeing his parents and relations. At the end of the application he made a declaration that all his statements (which includes his proposed three months' stay in India) were true. It may fairly be assumed that the Indian authorities granted him avisa on the faith of his declaration that he proposed to stay in India for three months only. It is not unlikely that, if he had stated in his application that he proposed to stay in India indefinitely, he might not have been granted ingress at all. Having pro-cured a short term Visa on the faith of his declaration and having entered India on the authority of that visa it is scarcely fair for the petitioner to turn round and insist on residing in India permanently by the sanction of the Court's writ,
18. Article 226 of the Constitution is not addressed to the Court in the language of an inexorable command. By it the Court is constituted the; trustee of a high' power for the high purpose of maintaining equilibrity between the two antithetical offsprings of jus naturale, the summun imperium of the State and the Jura naturalia absolute, i.e. the) Rights of Man (Otto Gierke (Barker's translation) 1 Natural Law and the Theory of Society 1500-1800 (Beacon BP edn.) at pages 41 and 113-114). Its constitutional origin, its nigh purpose, and its immense potentiality for good and harm alike counsel the Court to exercise the power with becoming prudence and reason, so that On the one hand, the State may not be unduly hampered in its legitimate domain, and on the other hand, the essential rights of man may not be abridged unnecessarily. Of necessity it does not enjoin upon the Court to issue writs, Orders and directions as a matter of course for the asking. The court may justly decline to lift its arm of justice to protect the hands which are guilty of breach of faith.
19. For the reasons already discussed, the petition is dismissed with costs.