The Delhi High Court has sought a response from the central government on a petition against the cancellation of a person’s Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- Who is an Overseas Citizen?
- Benefits to OCI Cardholders
Who is an Overseas Citizen?
- An OCI is a category introduced by the government in 2005.
- Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) of certain categories as specified in the Citizenship Act, 1955 are eligible for being OCI cardholders.
- Some of the benefits for PIO and OCI cardholders were different until 2015 when the government merged these two categories.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs defines an OCI as a person who:
- Was a citizen of India on or after 26th January 1950; or Was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January 1950; or
- Is a child or grandchild of such a person, among other eligibility criteria.
- According to Section 7A of the OCI card rules, an applicant is not eligible for the OCI card if he, his parents or grandparents have ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh.
Benefits to OCI Cardholders:
- OCI cardholders can enter India multiple times, get a multipurpose lifelong visa to visit India, and are exempt from registering with Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
- If an individual is registered as an OCI for a period of five years, he/she is eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.
- OCI cardholders can open special bank accounts in India, buy the non-farm property and exercise ownership rights and can also apply for a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card.
- At all Indian international airports, OCI cardholders are provided with special immigration counters.
- OCI cardholders do not get voting rights, cannot hold a government job and purchase agricultural or farmland.
- They cannot run for public office either, nor can they travel to restricted areas without government permission.
-Source: The Hindu