The PIL was filed by one Nageshwar Mishra from Varanasi. It sought revocation of citizenship from Kanhaiya Kumar in connection with the events at Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2016.
In February 2016, students at JNU had held a protest against the capital punishment meted out to Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat. Students from ABVP had objected against this protest and this had led to clashes between the two groups.
A video on Zee News had shown some students shouting “anti-India” slogans, but it was later found that those were outsiders to the University. Kanhaiya Kumar, who was the president of the Students Union at the time, was arrested for sedition a few days later, followed by the arrests of Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya.
The petitioner alleged that Kumar and his associates were supporting the “freedom struggle of terrorist groups” who are “working on the instigation of Pakistan to destabilize unity and disturb the peace and tranquility of our country”.
This was in reference to the anti-national slogans made at the JNU campus in 2016, but the Central Government has not taken any action against Kanhaiya in that case yet.
The bench comprising of Justice SK Gupta and Justice Shamim Ahmed dismissed the petition saying that it was ‘devoid of merit’ and ‘wholly misconceived’. The petitioner relied on Section 10 of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, which only applies when a non-citizen is given Indian citizenship by the Central government.
The bench highlighted how serious the deprivation of citizenship is, as it would affect the person’s right to live in India and may also result in making the person stateless.
The court also imposed a fine of 25,000 rupees on the petitioner for filing the plea to gain “cheap publicity” and wasting the resources of the court. The Court pointed out that it was working on limited strength due to the pandemic and hence this PIL was especially wasteful of the court’s time.