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State (Delhi Administration) Vs. Master Tameej - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 42 of 1967
Judge
Reported in1974CriLJ100; 9(1973)DLT324; 1973RLR302
ActsConstitution of India - Article 5; Foreigners Act, 1946 - Sections 14
AppellantState (Delhi Administration)
RespondentMaster Tameej
Advocates: D.C. Mathur,; R.L. Tandon and; Satish Soni, Advs
Cases ReferredState of U.P. v. Rahmatullah
Excerpt:
(i) constitution of india - article 5 and 7--meaning of 'migrated' considered and explained--whether a child of 3 or 4 years going to pakistan in 1947 with his grandparents and returning in 1953, could be said to have 'migrated' so as to disentitled him to indian citizenship ?(ii) foreigners act, 1946 - section 14--whether the central government could launch a prosecution against the accused without first deciding the question of his citizenship?;the respondent was born in delhi in 1943. both his parents were indian citizens. in 1947, the respondent was taken to pakistan by his grandparents and brought back to india in 1953 on a visa issued by the indian high commission. thereafter, the respondent obtained a pakistani passport in his own name and stayed in india even after the expiry of..........mentioned by wanchoo, j. like being kidnapped or abducted or taken to pakistan for a short period for the specific purpose of saving him from religious mob fury. (14) if the above proposition is correct, the respondent had not 'migrated' his domicile had not changed or could not change. .his case will be covered by article 5 of the constitution. he was born in india, in fact in delhi. his parents are indian citizens and he must be. deemed to have india domicile on january 26, 1950. he could thus claim to be an indian citizen on the promulgation of the constitution on january 26, 1950. whether subsquently he renounced indian citizenship by obtaining a passport, and that too at the age of 10 or 11, and got his residence premits extended from time to time up to september 10, 1958 was a.....
Judgment:

Prakash Narain, J.

(1) This is an appeal by the State (Delhi Administration) against the order of acquittal passed by the trial Magistrate in favor of the respondent who was prosecuted under section 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946. The charge was that he being a. national of Pakistan was found overstaying in India without any permission or valid passport. Originally, the appeal came up for hearing before my brothers M.R.A. Ansari and D.K. Kapur, JJ. By their order dated January 25 , they made a refrence to a larger bench. That is how the matter has been placed before the three of us.

(2) The relevant facts in .this case are not in dispute. Briefly stated, the facts are as follows: The respondent Maser Tameej. is the son. of one Mohd, Ismail and was born at Delhi in the year 1943. Both his parents are Indian citizens. Sometime in 1947 the respondent was taken by his maternal grand parents to Pakistan along with the elder brother, Bundu. On May 23, 1953, a joint passport was obtained by the respondent's said grand-parents, Mr. and Mrs. Faehmuddin for themselves and the two boys. A visa was granted to the four of them by the Indian High Commission at Lahore for visiting India on September 28, 1953. The respondent accompanied by his brother and maternal grand-parents came to India via Amritsar on November 10, 1953. On March 8,1954 a separate passport bearing No. 108922 was issued in favor of the respondeat by the Pakistan High Commission at New Delhi. The validity of the said passport was up to March 7, 1959. On the basis of 'his passport permits for residing in India were issued in favor of the respondent from time to time. The last residential permit by which the respondent was permitted to remain in India was issued in November, 1957 (Exhibit Public Witness 3/A). According to this permit the respondent had been permitted to remain in India until September 10, 1958. The conditions of the residential permit were that the same was to be surrendered by the respondent at the time of departure from India to the Registration Officer of the place from which he leaves India; in the event of the respondent not departing from India before September 10, 1958, unless he obtained further per- session from the Central Government to remain for a longer period in India, he was liable to be prosecuted for contravention of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946; and that if an application for extension of the period of the permit for stay in India was to be moved by him it had to be so moved 15 days before September 10, 1958. The respondent did not get his permit extended and admittedly stayed on in India even after the expiry of the period specified in the said residental permit Exhibit Public Witness 3. A and the validity of his afore- said passport which was valid only up to March 7, 1959. The respondent was arrestsd on October 21, 1965 within the jurisdiction of Police Station Darya Ganja. Delhi. A Fir, Exhibit Pa was lodged on that day and he was ultimately sent up for trial as .already mentioned earlier.

(3) The respondent pleaded that he was an Indian national and so. had not contravened any provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946. His contention found favor with the trial Magistrate and he was acquitted.

(4) Mr. D.C. Mathur- who appears for the appellant contended that the respondent having migrated to Pakistan after March 1 , was a foreigner within the meaning of the Foreigners Act, 1947 read with Article 7 of the Constitution. Inasmuch as the respondent's case did not come within the ambit of the proviso and well within the ambit of Article 7, the trial Magistrate erred in acquitting him. The contention on behalf of the respondent on the other hand, is that he is an Indian citizen within the meaning of Article 5 of the Constitution and that Article 7 is not attracted at all. The short question turn decision in this case is, thereforee, whether the repondent ' migrated' to the territory now included in Pakistan. If he did, then Article 5 would obviously be not attracted. If he did not, then only will Questions arise whether provisions of Article 5 of the Constitution or the Citizenship Act, 1955 are attracted.

(5) The onfire controversy before us hinges round.. the meaning to be given to the word 'migrated' in Article 7 of the Constitution. Does this word mean merely to go from one place to another or something more? Mr. Mathur contended that a wider meaning was to be given to the word 'migrated'. It means leaving one place and going to another, as distinguished from change of domicile envisaged by Article 5. Before dilate on this contention it will bs advantageous to notice the provisions of Article 5 and 7 of the Constitution which are as under :

'5.At the commencement of the. Constitution every person who has his domicile in the territory of India and (a) who was born in the territory of India; or (b) either of whose parents was born in the territory of India: or 858 (c) who has been ordinarily resident in the territory of India for not less than five years, immediately preceding such commencement, shall be a citizen of India. 7. 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 now included in Pakistan shall not be deemed to be a citizen of India : Provided that nothing in this article shall apply to a person who, after having so migrated to the territory now included in Pakistan, has returned to the territory of India under a permit for resettlement or permanent return issued by or under the authority of any law and every such person shall for the purposes of clause (b) of article 6 be deemed to have migrated to the territory of India after the nineteenth .day of June, 1948.'

Inasmuch as articles 9 and 10 of the Constitution may also have some relevance these may also be set out. These lay down :

'9.No person shall be a citizen of India by virtue of article 5, or be deemed to be a citizen of India by virtue of article 6 or article 8, if has has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of any foreign State. 10. Every person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India under any of the foregoing provisions of this Part shall, subject to the provisions of any law that may be made by Parliament, continue to be such citizen.'

(6) Article 7 of the Constitution has been considered by the Supreme Court in Kulathil Mammu V. State of Kerala and others, : 1966CriLJ1217 . The main question that arose in that case was with regard to the interpretation of the word 'migrated' in Article 7 of the Constitution. Aboobacker on whose behalf a writ petition was filed in the High Court at Kerala was born of parents who were both Indian citizens. Aboobacker had left India sometime in 1948 and gone to Karachi in Pakistan when he was a boy of 12 years of age. He remained in Pakistan till 1954 and returned to India on a Pakistani passport and a visa granted to him in September, 1954. On November 1, 1954 he again left for Pakistan. In 1956 he came to India again with the same passport but on a fresh visa obtained in April, 1956. He remained In India till June, 1956 when he returned again to Pakistan. In the passport Aboobacker's father who was dead by then, was described as an Indian but Aboobacker's own nationality was given as Pakistani and the appropiate date of imigration was mentioned as 1948. In October, 1964 Abbobacker was found Jiving in the district of Kozhikode without any valid travel documents. Consequently, he was arrested and a case under Indian Passport Rules, 1950 was registered against him. He was released on bail and thereafter the matter was reported to the State Government. On this report the State Government passed an order on November 5, 1965 under the Foreigners Act requiring him not to remain in India. As Aboobacker was unwilling to comply with the orders, he was arrested and detained. A writ petition was thereupon filed and the contention raised therein was that Aboobacker was an Indian citizen and thereforee, the order passed against him under the Foregingers Act was illegal. It was prayed that the order of the State Government be quashed and Aboobacker released. The petition was opposed on behalf of the State and the contention was that Aboobacker ceased to be a citizen of India when the Constitution of India came into force by virtue of Article 7 thereof and in consequencs the order directing him to leave India under the Forceigners Act was legal and proper.

(7) Wanchoo, J. (as the Lordship then was) speaking for majority, inter alia, observed as under :

'The word 'migrated is capable both of a narrower meaning as well as of a wider meaning, la its narrower connotation it means going from one place to another with the intention of residing permanently in the latter place. In its wider connotation it simply means going from one place to another whether or not with any intention of permanent residence in the latter place. In Wabster's Dictionary? (Second Edition, 1937), the word 'migrate' means 'to go from one place to another: especially to move from one country, region or -place of abode or sojoum to another, with a view to residence. to move'. Corpus Jurisdiction Secundum published in 1948 gives the same meaning except that it- adds one more meaning namely, 'to change one's place of residence'. It will be seen that if the narrowner meaning is given an intention to settle in the place to which a person moves on migration is necessary. On the other hand if the wider meaning is given all that is necessary is that there should be movement from one place to another whether or not there is any intention of settlement in the place to which one moves. The question that is posed for our consideration, is which of the two meanings was intended by the Constitution makers when they used the word 'migrated' in Art. 7

'(6)In order to decide the question whether the narrower or the wider meaning of the word 'migrated' was intended by the Constitution makers, we have to look at the schems. of Part Ii of the Constitution which deals with citizenship. The first Article in that Part is Art 5 and it lays down the normal rule of citizenship. Under that. Article every person who has his domicile in. the territory of India at the commencement of the Constitution and satisfies one of the three conditions laid down therein is a citizen of India. But the Constitution also deals with the abnormal sit ration that prevailed in the country about the time of its partition between India and Pakistan and Arts. 6 and 7 deal with that abnormal situation. It is well known that there was large movement of population from what is now the territory of Pakistan to the territory of India and vice versa from about March, 1947 and this continued late into 1948. Article 6 deals with this movement 'of population' from the territory now included in Pakistan to the territory of India while Article 7 deals with the movement from the territory of India to what is now the territory of Pakistan. Both these Articles begin with a non obstante-clause. Article 5 begins with the words 'notwithstanding anything in Arts. 5 and 6'. The presence of the non obstinate clause in both these Articles clearly indicates that they were meant to .deal with the abnormal situation to which we have already referred and prescribed conditions as to who shall be deemed to be citizens of India on the date of the commencement of the Constitution (Art. 6) and who shall not be so' deemed (Art. 7). It is also remarkable that both these Articles arc silent on the question of domicile and the presence of the non obstinate clause in the beginning of these Article clearly shows in our opinion that the concept of domicile was not to be brought into them when deciding who shall be deemed citizen of India. (Art. 6) or who shall not be deemed to be citizens of India (Art. 7). 'These two Articles make special provision for dealing with the abnormal situation created by large movement of population from one side to the other and voice versa and lay down special criteria of their own, in one case for deciding who shall be deemed to be citizens of India (Art. 6) and in the other case who shall not be deemed to be such citizens (Art. 7). It seems' to us thereforee that the Constitution makers did not intend that the concept of 'domicile' should be brought into. Articles 6 and 7 notwithstanding that such concept 'was present in Art. 5, which provides for the normal case of citizenship of India. In this situation it seems to us clear that when Art. 6 as well as Art. 7 use the word 'migrated', the intention must have been to give the wider meaning to that word, namely, going from one territory to the other.'

His Lordship noticed the observations of Mahajan, C.J. in Central Bank of India v. Ram Narain, : 1955CriLJ152 , and observed that the idea of domicile or permanent change of residence could not be a part of the meaning of the word 'migrated' as used in Articles 6 and 7 of the Constitution. It was in consequence, held that in the abnormal situation which existed at the time of the partition of the country in 1947 there was hardly any occasion on the part of persons migrating from one side to another to form intention required for acquiring domicile in one place or another and the Constitution- makers were aware of this state of mind of the populace which went to and fro. There could be no intention at that time to change one's residence permanently. That is why both Articles 6 and 7 start with a non obstinate clause and exclude the concept of domicile for the purposes of these articles Having held that the word 'migrated' must be given a wider meaning and cannot be construed in its narrower connutation of going from one place to another with the intention of residing permanently in 'the latter place, it was observed as follows :

'EVENso we are of opinion that there is one qualification which must be attached to the word migrated' as used in these two Articles even though that word has the wider meaning of going from one place to another in the context of these Articles. That qualification is that the movement should have been voluntary and should not have been fora specific purpose and for a short and limited period. A case where a person went on what may be called a visit from the territory of India to the territory of Pakistan for a short and limited period with a specific purpose would not be covered by the word 'migrated' as used in Art. 7. Similarly a case where a person was forced to go from the territory of India to the territory of Pakistan, as, for example, where he might have been kidnapped or abducted would not be covered by the word 'migrated' as used in Art. 7. Barring such cases the word 'migrated' as used in Arts. 6 and 7 has the wider meaning namely, movement from one territory to another territory whether or not with the intention of permanent residence in the later place .................'

On the facts of the case it was held that Aboobacker went voluntarily to the territory of Pakistan sometime after March 1, 1947. He had not gone for any specific purpose and for a short and limited period. It was further observed that in the view that had been taken of the meaning of the word 'migrated' in Article. 7. It was not necessary to consider the other point raised on behalf of Aboobacker, namely, that a minor could never have the intention implicit in the narrowr meaning of the word 'migrated'.

(8) Hidayatullah, J. (as his Lordship then was) delivered a minority judgment and adhered to his earlier view (reported in Air 1961 S.C. 59) that migration is not a bare physical movement from one territory to another territory but is movement accompanied by intention of some sort. According to his Lordship the decisive consideration is whether in migrating a person changed his abode, that is to say he left the territory of India to go and acquire an abode in the territory which is now in Pakistan. Just as domicile is a question of fact and intention, migration is also a question of fact and intention. Hidayatullah, I, also agreed that the fact Aboobacker was a minor made no difference as the Constitution does not make distinction between an adult and a minor. The intention of changing his abode from India to the territory now in Pakistan (whether he had it at the time or not) must be attributed to him because he returned to India several times and went back to Pakistan several times under a Pakistani passport which dearly showed that he was intending to change his abode from India to Pakistan.

(9) Two things are common in both the majority and the minority judgments in the above case. First, mere 'minority of the person concerned does not have 'any relevancy. Secondly. the purpose for which a person moves from one territory to another is relevant and the movement must be voluntary.

(10) Mr. Mathur has relied on the above decision of the Supreme Count and primarily rests his case on what has been held in the majority judgment. His contentions are that admittedly the respondent having left India in 1947 his case is covered by Article 7 of the Constitution and so, the respondent is debarred from claiming Indian citizenship. That he was only 3 to 4 years old at the. time he left India is immaterial for the purposes of Article 7. The acquisition of a separate passport by ihe respondent on March 8, 1954 when he Was about 10 to Ii years old is conclusive evidence of the respodent being a Pakistani national and he has not taken advantage of the provisions of the proviso to Article 7 of the Constitution.

(11) Our attention was invited to a later decision of the Supreme Court in the State of Assam v. Jikadar Ali A.I.R. 1970 S.C. 2166 (3) in which the Supreme Court has reiterated the rule laid down by it in 'Kulathil Mammu's case : 1966CriLJ1217 . This was a case of a person who wa.s in Government service in Assam prior to August 15, 1947 .and went to Pakistan on the partition of the country after exercising his option for being transferred to the Police service in. Pakistan. As ordered, he imported to the inspector General of Police, Dacca, joined Pakistan service as a Peon and continued to live there till December 23, 1953 when he entered India on a Pakistani passport. In these circumstances, it was held that Article 7 alone Was attracted in his case and not Article 5 of the Constitution. It was immaterial that Jikadar Ali was born in India or owned property in India. This case, in our view, does not have much relevance.

(12) Mr. Mathur urged that irrespective of anything else the respondent was a foreigner within the meaning of that term at the time when he was arrested and prosecuted. It will be relevant at this stage to refer to -certain relevant provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946. According to Section 2(a) as amended by the Foreigners Laws (Amendment) Act, 1957, 'foreigner' means a person who is not a citizen of India. There is no dispute between the parties that if Article 7 is attracted in the case of the respondent he would be a foreigner within the meaning of the term as defined by clause (a) of Section 2 of the Foreigners Act, 1956. So, reference to the decision of the Supreme Court m The State of Andhra Pradesh v. Abdul Khader, : 1961CriLJ573a , or the subsequent decision in Fateh Mohd. The Delhi-Administration, : AIR1963SC1035 is not relevant. Indeed, it is only migration between-March I, 1947 and January 26, 1950 which has to be established if Article. 7 is to be invoked, as laid down by the Supreme Court in Slate of Madhya Pradesh v. Peer Mohd. and another, : AIR1963SC645 . That the respondent held a Pakistani passport in his name may be relevant if loss of citizenship is to be determined under the Citizenship Act, 1955, as was held by Supreme Court in IzharAhmad Khan v. Union of India A.I .R. 1962 S.C. 1952 (7) and Government of Andhra Pradesh v. Syed Mohd, Khan etc. : AIR1962SC1778 For the purpose of an enquiry whether the respondent had or had not 'migrated' within. the meaning of Article 7 of the Constitution, mere holding of a passport will not be very relevant. In case the respondent was an Indian national and it was contended that be had later on changed his nationality, it is a matter which will be within the competence of the Central Government to decide. If that be so, till such a decision is made under Citizenship Act, no prosecution under Section 14 could be launched, as laid down by the Supreme Court in. State of U.P. v. Rahmatullah, : 1971CriLJ1103 . For the moment as already observed earlier, we are only concerned with whether the respondent had migrated, as contended, or could .be regarded as having migrated from India to Pakistan within the meaning of Article 7 of the Constitution

(13) It is a settled rule of Private International Law that nobody shall be without a domicile and in order to make this effective the law assigns what is called a domicile of origin to every person at his birth, namely, to a legitimate child the domicile of the father, to an illegitimate child the domicile of the mother and to a foundling the place where be is found. This prevails until a new domicile has been acquired, so that if a person leaves the country of his origin with an undoubted intention of ever returnig to it again, nevertheless his domicile of origin adheres to him until he actually settles with the requisite- intention in some other country. As has been observed in Che shire's Private International Law 'a person cannot have two domiciles. Since the object of the law in insisting feat no person shall be. without a domicile is to establish a definite legal system by which cirtain of his rights and obligation nay be: governed, and since the facts and events of his life frequently impinge upon several countries, it is necessary on practical grounds, to hold that he cannot possess more than one domicile at the same time.' It is in keeping with the established principle of law that even Indian statutes have laid down rules regarding domicile. For example. Part It of the Indian Sucecssion Act. 1935 deals with domicile. No doubt, the statute deals with succession but it lays down, as far as a minor is concerned, that the domicile of a minor follows the domisile of the parents from. whom he derived his domicile of origin (Section 14). Section is of the Succession Act provides that a person cannot during minority acquire a new domicile save as otherwise provided in Part Ii of this Act. 'This if a minor has Indian domicile it cannot be changed unless there is a positive act performed by virtue , of which the minor can be regarded as having voluntarily left the country of his origin with an undoubted intention of never returning to it again and he actually settles with the requisite intention in the other country. In Kulathil Mammu's case their Lordships of the Supreme Court have, no doubt, laid down that it was immaterial, as far as Article 7 was concerned, that a minor can never have the intention requisite to effect change of domicile. But what has to be kept in mind is that even in the majority judgment in order to hold that a person has migrated the movement should have been voluntary A child of 3 or 4 taken by his maternal grand-parents with whom the child was living at the relevant time cannot be regarded by any stretch of imagination to have voluntarily moved from India to Pakistan. At that age as opposed to the age of 12 years in the case of Aboobacker, the child could have no volition. Even the Indian Penal Code makes a distinction between minors of various ages. A minor under the age of seven years cannot be regarded as having committed any offence, as would be apparent on a reading of Section 82 of the Indian Penal Code. All the same a child of 12 years or more, even if minor, has been regarded as one capable of understanding what he is doing and in certain circumstances could be regarded as having committed an offence. Section 90 of Indian Penal Code gives the age of consent as 12 years for a minor child. thereforee, keeping the laws of the land in view and the circumstances in which the respondent went from India when he was 3 to 4 years old and came back to it when he was 10 to 12 years old, it cannot be said that he voluntarily went from India to Pakistan. Whichever View one takes of the word 'migrated' a child of 3 or 4 who is not taken to Pakistan, from India by his parents but maternal grand-parents has to be held not to have migrated. Indeed a child going to Pakistan in such circumstances may well be regarded as falling within the exceptions mentioned by Wanchoo, J. like being kidnapped or abducted or taken to Pakistan for a short period for the specific purpose of saving him from religious mob fury.

(14) If the above proposition is correct, the respondent had not 'migrated' his domicile had not changed or could not change. .His case will be covered by Article 5 of the Constitution. He was born in India, in fact in Delhi. His parents are Indian citizens and he must be. deemed to have India domicile on January 26, 1950. He could thus claim to be an Indian citizen on the promulgation of the Constitution on January 26, 1950. Whether subsquently he renounced Indian citizenship by obtaining a passport, and that too at the age of 10 or 11, and got his residence premits extended from time to time up to September 10, 1958 was a matter which had to be decided by the Central Government under Sections 9 and 18 of the Citizenship Act, read with the relevant rules, before any prosecution could be launched against the respondent. 'The present prosecution was, thereforee, wholly misconceived.


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