HC tells State to file counter for final hearing in MLA’s citizenship row

Court extends stay on cancellation of Ramesh’s Indian citizenship

Telangana High Court on Tuesday directed the State government to file its counter affidavit for final hearing in the writ petition challenging Indian citizenship of Vemulawada MLA Chennamaneni Ramesh of ruling TRS party.

Hearing the plea filed by Adi Srinivas who lost to Mr. Ramesh in 2018 Assembly elections, Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili of the HC adjourned the matter by two weeks. The judge extended the order staying cancellation of Indian citizenship of Mr. Ramesh by the Union Home Ministry for two weeks.

Presenting contentions of the State government, Additional Advocate General J. Ramchander Rao told the court that second schedule of the Constitution amply made it clear that Home department matters along with Law and Order issues come under the purview of the State government. Yet, the Union Home Ministry neither put the State government on notice in the matter.

It did not take any inputs from the State government either. The Union government cancelled the MLA’s citizenship without consulting the State government. It had not even called for any records on the matter from the State, Mr. Rao said. “The central government had declared Mr. Ramesh as not citizen of India on figment of imagination,” he argued.

The petitioner’s counsel Ravi Kiran Rao averred that State government had no role to play when it came to declaration of citizenship. The legislator himself presented in an application with the Indian embassy in Germany that he was not an Indian citizen. This was presented before the court by the Union government, Mr. Rao said.

That document was enough to prove that he was not Indian citizen and the court can adjudicate the matter based on such facts, he argued.

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