DELHI HIGH COURT REINSTATES OCI CARD OF A DOCTOR PRACTICING IN BIHAR

DELHI HIGH COURT REINSTATES OCI CARD OF A DOCTOR PRACTICING IN BIHAR

• All persons in this country have a right to practice their faith freely

• If one’s faith motivates to volunteer for social service, one is free to do so

• There is no law in India that stops from doing so

New Delhi, January 10, 2019

Delhi High Court on Tuesday, 8th January 2019 overturned an order passed by the Appellate Authority of Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division by ruling in favour of an Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), Dr. Christo Philip, am American Doctor who was practicing medicine at a mission hospital in Bihar, India.

His OCI card was cancelled and deported by the Ministry of Home Affaires on the false allegation that he was involved in missionary activity.

The Delhi High Court held that Ministry of Home Affairs had acted without any complaints of law and order problems and had failed to establish how Dr. Christo’s was a violation of the OCI Card regulations. His OCI Card was reinstated.

The Court in its judgment states that it is at a loss to understand as to how such work or medical services could possibly be construed as contrary to the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India. The Court, taking strong position, says: “India is a secular country. All persons in this country have a right to practice their faith in the manner they consider fit so long as it does not offend any other person. If Dr Christo’s faith motivates him to volunteer for medical services at a hospital, he is free to do so. There is no such law that stops him from doing so.” The Court reiterated by stating “certainly not of this land”

Tehmina Arora, Director of ADF India said: “This is a landmark judgement protecting the rights of foreign nationals working in Christian organizations to freely live out their faith in India. It restricts the arbitrary action of the Ministry of Home Affairs targeting foreigners merely because they are Christians.

BRIEF BACKGROUND

Dr. Christo, an American citizen of Indian origin, had returned to India in January 2014 to serve at a mission hospital in Bihar. He had an OCI Card which is a lifelong visa and allowed him to work in India as a doctor. On 26th April 2016, when returning with his family from a medical conference in Greece, when he landed at the Indira Gandhi International Terminal in New Delhi, and while waiting at the Immigration Counter, he was shocked to be informed that he would not be allowed entry into India and would be deported. His family was allowed reentry into India. Dr. Christo spent the next two days in detention centers in Istanbul and Greece before he was able to go to Kathmandu, Nepal. There

his family joined him after hastily packing up their belongings.



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