The bench comprising the Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar observed that mere possession of a Pan Card; a Voter ID Card; or an Aadhar Card cannot be said to be proof of Indian Citizenship. The court also added that relinquishment of Citizenship of Nepal does not confer any right of Indian Citizenship. As per appellant Kiran Gupta was born and brought in Nepal and was married with Ashok Prasad Gupta and after she started residing permanently with him in India. After she got her name entered into the voters list prepared in the year 2008 for elections to the Assembly of Bihar; (b) in her name she has (i) an account with a bank in India,(ii) a Pan Card issued by the Income Tax Department, and (iii) and Aadhaar; (c) names of her children born out of the wedlock are registered in India under the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 and the respective Rules framed thereunder; (d) pursued her higher education in India (e) purchased an immovable property in India. She was elected as a Mukhiya of Gram Panchayat. State Election Commission set aside the election commission set aside the election under Section 136(1) of the Bihar Panchayat Raj Act, 2006 on the ground of her not being an Indian citizen. Then she approached the High Court claiming that she voluntarily relinquished Citizenship of Nepal and thus has acquired Indian Citizenship. The Single bench dismissed her writ petition holding that, she being not a citizen of India, entailed disqualification under the Panchayat Act.
The court observed that mere relinquishment of original Citizenship cannot be perceived as an intent of seeking Indian Citizenship. The court made the following observations that; “the Citizenship Act does not provide for a scenario where a person residing in India, upon relinquishment her /his original Citizenship is automatically considered to be a citizen of India, possibility of a person, though not the appellant, migrating to a third country cannot be ruled out. The foreign national does not become an Indian Citizen on marriage with a citizen under the Act. After the marriage, the foreign national has an option to get registered as an Indian citizen. Even then, the person must fulfill the requirement of residency before they can apply residency before they can apply for Indian Citizenship. The object of the Citizenship Act is to provide for the acquisition and determination of Indian Citizenship. As in case of Sate Trading Corporation of India Ltd v. Commercial Tax Officer & Ors, the Hon’ble Apex Court clarified that the Indian Constitution and the Citizenship Act Exhaustively deal with the issue of Citizenship, confined only to a natural person. Further, nationality and Citizenship are not interchangeable, terms and expression ‘person’ under the Act have to be natural and not legal entities. There is also no doubt in our mind that Part II of the Constitution when it deals with Citizenship refers to natural persons only. This is further made absolutely clear by the Citizenship Act which deals with Citizenship after the Constitution came into force and confines it only to natural persons. However, Citizenship is not a criterion for having a bank account in India. Voter ID cards are not incontrovertible evidence of Indian Citizenship – presumption attached to the issuance of the voter ID card may be challenged by a complaint that states material facts under Section 136 of the Panchayat Act. The bench also refused the plea to direct the Central Government to grant the petitioner Indian citizenship observing that it would impinge upon the Executive’s functions.