Delhi HC issues notice to Centre on French journalist plea over restoring OCI | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Delhi HC issues notice to Centre on French journalist plea over restoring OCI

Mar 05, 2024 08:39 AM IST

The court directed the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) and union home affairs ministry to file its reply within a week

The Delhi high court on Monday issued notice to Centre seeking its reply to a petition filed by French journalist and an overseas citizen of India (OCI) card holder Vanessa Dougnac challenging the decision to deny her permission to carry out journalistic activities in the country.

Dougnac said she came to India 25 years ago as a student and subsequently worked here as a journalist for 23 years. (X / @RSF_inter)
Dougnac said she came to India 25 years ago as a student and subsequently worked here as a journalist for 23 years. (X / @RSF_inter)

The court directed the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) and union home affairs ministry to file its reply within a week saying that the matter needed immediate attention as it concerned the rights of an OCI card holder.

HT launches Crick-it, a one stop destination to catch Cricket, anytime, anywhere. Explore now!

“Since it’s a matter concerning the rights of OCI, matter needs immediate attention,” a bench of justice Subramonium Prasad said while posting the matter for March 15.

Dougnac in her plea had contended that the Centre’s September 14, 2022 decision denying her permission to undertake journalistic activity is ex facie illegal, arbitrary and has been passed in a mechanical manner without any application of mind.

Also Read: Being forced to leave India, alleges French journalist

She has thus urged the court to direct the ministry to restore her OCI activity permission and decide the same with the applicable laws and principles of natural justice.

Dougnac has also urged to direct the Centre to decide her fresh application for grant of permission to undertake journalistic activities with the applicable law.

“The Petitioner was the longest serving foreign correspondent in India. However, pursuant to the Impugned Order, it became impossible for her to work and earn her livelihood in India. Despite multiple informal and formal attempts at resolving the issue with Respondent Nos. 1 and 2, trying to understand the reasons behind the Impugned Order, and trying to get another OCI Activity Permission to undertake journalistic activities, the Petitioner did not receive any satisfactory response. Consequently, on February 16 she was forced to leave India and return to France,” her plea read.

She in her plea had also stated that the denial of special permission could not constitute the basis for Centre’s January 18 show cause notice against her for cancellation of her OCI card.

On Monday, Dougnac appearing through advocate Vrinda Bhandari contended that she was a journalist living in India for more than two decades and had married to an Indian.

Bhandari also argued that her application was closed by the authorities without giving any material reason.

While the home affairs ministry appearing through standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia submitted that the French journalist did not per se have the right to be aware of the cause of denial.

He added that an OCI card holder could not undertake journalistic activities and had to apply for a journalist visa.

The Centre’s counsel further stated that the ministry was also awaiting a decision from the authorities on the issue of cancellation of her OCI status.

“In the show cause notice we have stated that you have carried a propaganda in bringing the country to a bad light,” the counsel said.

In a statement issued on February 16, Dougnac, former South Asia Correspondent for newsweekly Le Point and newspapers Le Soir and La Croix had said that she was being forced to leave by the Government of India.

“Sixteen months ago, the Ministry of Home Affairs denied my right to work as a journalist, providing no reasons nor justifications, and no hearing,” she had said in her statement.

Dougnac said she came to India 25 years ago as a student and subsequently worked here as a journalist for 23 years, in addition to getting married and raising her son in the country.

“Leaving is not my choice,” she added

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch now!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, April 20, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On