Mrunal Manmay Dash

In a major setback for Sweden-based Odia professor Ashok Swain, the Union Government of India has cancelled his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) registration over alleged anti-India activities.

The cancellation of his OCI card came to the fore after the Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Delhi High Court about the same.

The Centre’s submission at the Delhi High Court was in response to Swain’s plea challenging a July 30, 2023, order of the Indian Embassy to Sweden and Latvia which cancelled his OCI registration.

As per the government, Swain was found to be indulged in “illegal activities inimical” to the interests of the sovereignty, integrity, and security of India.

The Ministry of Home Affairs told the High Court that it examined a report from the security agencies, and the Ministry of External Affairs about Swain’s activities and found that his OCI Card was liable to be cancelled under the provisions of Section 7D© of The Citizenship Act.

Speaking about the OCI cancellation, foreign affairs expert Manas Behera said, “As per the OCI rule, the Indian government provides certain privileges for the overseas citizens of India to work in India for a longer duration of time. Indian government holds the right to cancel it anytime it deems fit.”

The Centre further said that the visa grant is a “plenary sovereign function” of the Government of India, not an “enforceable right let alone a Fundamental Right”. The Centre added though Swain had an OCI card, it could not be equated with the citizenship of India as OCI card holders are foreign nationals.