A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hima Kohli told additional solicitor general K M Nataraj that since Pakistan government is not recognizing him as their citizen, he could not be left as a ‘state-less person. “Since he is not considered either by the Union or UP government as a security threat, we will admit his daughter’s petition for grant of Indian citizenship and keep him on bail,” it said.
Qamar was released in April this year on SC orders from Delhi’s Lampur detention Centre, where he has been detained since 2015 under Foreigners Act after he served out his three- and half-year sentence on being convicted by a Meerut Court for illegal stay in India.
The bench said since he is not a security threat and that he is married to an Indian and had five children, who are all Indians, Qamar could look for some succor on being kept free on bail at this advanced age, especially when the Pakistan High Commission is not confirming his Pakistani citizenship despite grant of consular access twice.
Born in Meerut to Indian parents in 1959, Qamar went to Pakistan as an eight year-old with his mother to visit her relatives in Shalami area in Lahore. Unfortunately, his mother died before the expiry of visa period, and he was left in the care of his mother’s relatives.
On becoming an adult, he got a Pakistani passport and visited India in 1989-90. Shortly after arriving in India, he got married to Sehnaaj Begum in Meerut and in the next six years had five children, three boys and two girls.
Though his visa expired long ago, being illiterate, he never bothered to renew it, his daughter’s counsel Sanjay Parikh informed the court. He was arrested on August 8, 2011, under the Foreigners Act for residing in India after expiry of visa. He was convicted by a Meerut court and sentenced to three years and six months.
Qamar’s daughter Ana Parveen had moved the SC for release of her father on bail on the ground that he had expressed before the authorities as well as the Delhi High Court the desire to apply for Indian citizenship and reside with his family in Meerut. His wife and children all have Aadhaar cards, she said.