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Is Ashok Swain’s OCI revocation fair?

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Justice Subramonium Prasad criticized the revocation of Swain’s OCI status, stating that the decision lacked proper justification and was solely based on the invocation of Section 7D(e) of the Citizenship Act without providing any specific reasons. The court observed a lack of thoughtful consideration in the decision-making process. Consequently, Justice Prasad instructed the Central government to issue a new order that includes comprehensive reasoning within a three-week timeframe. The court clarified that it had not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case. Regarding Swain, he is an academic and professor specializing in peace and conflict research at Uppsala University in Sweden. Swain approached the High Court after his OCI card was cancelled in February 2022 due to his critical statements about the current Indian government. The Central government’s representative argued that Swain’s OCI card was revoked because his activities were deemed detrimental to India’s security, stability, sovereignty, integrity, and friendly relations with other countries. However, Swain contended that he had not made any inflammatory speeches and there was no substantial evidence to support the allegations against him. Swain’s petition emphasized that as an academic, it is his societal role to discuss and critique government policies through his work, and mere criticism should not be considered anti-India activities under Section 7D(e) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Swain was represented by Advocate Aadil Singh Boparai, with the petition filed through advocates Ayesha Jamal, Srishti Khanna, Sachin Kumar, and Sidhant Saraswat.

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