Dual citizenship: Goa notifies Centre’s order
Panaji: The Goa government has notified the order of the Central government which seeks to authorise district magistrates to decide the cases of dual citizenship. The government, earlier this week, also invited public suggestions and objections over this notification.According to the notification, all the cases and complaints regarding dual citizenship would be adjudicated by the magistrate of the respective district and a recommendation will be made to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for the final decision. The ministry issued this order on November 22 last year.The police have been reluctantly registering First Information Reports (FIRs) based on complaints filed by local activist Kashinath Shetye, claiming several politicians, legislators, police officers, bureaucrats, lawyers and thousands of Goans, have over the years applied and availed themselves of the Portuguese identity card, Bilhete. Police initially refused to register FIRs, but later did so on the directions of a local trial court. Many politicians have also used this as a weapon by filing cases against their rivals. The FIR registered on Mr. Shetye’s complaints says people who have Bilhetes should surrender their Indian passports, and such government officers and politicians should resign.The issue became contentious for the BJP government, with two legislators, Glen Ticlo (BJP) and Caitu Silva (alliance party member), being accused of having Portuguese passports and having processed their Bilhetes after registering their birth in Portugal. Both have maintained in court that their documentation in Portugal was processed by agents without their knowledge.While Mr. Silva lost the election on February 4, 2017, Mr. Ticlo continues as BJP MLA. Mr. Silva is facing a petition filed by his political rival in the Bombay High Court at Goa.The BJP coalition government had maintained that the Bilhete alone is not proof of Portuguese identity and the individual continues to be an Indian citizen.