Delhi HC seeks Centre’s reply on journalist Angad Singh’s plea

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Central government to file a proper counter affidavit to a Vice News journalist Angad Singh’s plea challenging his deportation from Delhi to New York in August last year and being “blacklisted” despite being an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holder.

Appearing for the Centre, advocate Anurag Ahluwalia had last month told the court that as the US-based journalist has violated Section 11A of the Foreigners Order, 1948, which prohibits a foreigner from producing any picture, film or documentary without permission in writing from the Centre, he is a blacklisted subject.

During the hearing on Tuesday, appearing for Singh, Advocate Swathi Sukumar said that she had moved an amendment application against the blacklisting which was mentioned in the counter affidavit of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The FRRO, in an affidavit, told the court that Singh was blacklisted at the instance of the Consulate General of India in New York.

According to the affidavit, Singh had allegedly depicted India in a negative manner in the “India Burning” documentary.

Ahluwalia had earlier submitted that Singh was entering India on his journalist visa for a personal visit but he wasn’t issued a visa for that.

On Tuesday, Sukumar further said that she did not have a copy of the blacklisting order.

Ahluwalia said that he would file a “detailed response”. He added that the primary condition was that Singh comes to the place, makes a video, gives it to the consulate general for approval, once approved, then the video could have been made public.

Sukumar argued that the Centre had to seek instructions on whether any proceedings were initiated for cancellation of Singh’s OCI card.

To this, Ahluwalia said that they have not initiated any proceedings as of now and added that filing the blacklisting order may not be necessary.

While allowing the amendment to the writ petition and directing the Centre to file a proper counter affidavit to the amended petition, the court noted: “It is submitted by the Centre that their stand would be stated in the counter affidavit which is now to be filed in the amended writ.”

The court listed the matter for the next hearing in May.

Singh has covered important issues in his documentaries, including the Shaheen Bagh protests, the farmers’ protests and the Covid-19 pandemic in India, among others.

In his plea, Singh has mentioned that his fundamental right under the Citizenship Act, 1955, is being violated by not letting him into India.

Earlier, Singh’s counsel had sought a declaration that his deportation from the government was illegal and disclosure of all the materials and data available with the government related to him.

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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