London: An influential group of
Indian-origin professionals has criticised the Ministry of
External Affairs for levying a fee while surrendering Indian
passports when expatriates acquire British citizenship.
Under Indian law, Persons of Indian Origin, who have
acquired foreign citizenship, are required to surrender their
Indian passports to the nearest Indian mission immediately
after acquisition of the foreign citizenship.
A fee of 102 pounds has now been levied on such
individuals surrendering their Indian passports, after which a
`surrender certificate` is issued.
This certificate is mandatory for future consular
services such as visa, Persons of Indian Origin or Overseas
Citizen of India cards.
Terming the levy of the fee as a `fine` for
surrendering Indian citizenship, Amit Kapadia, executive
director of the HSMP Forum said: "We are deeply concerned over
the Indian government`s repeated attempts to penalise Indian
nationals opting for foreign citizenship in this manner.
We have received many complaints from British Indians
who have expressed their resentment against the humiliation
meted out to them and their families."
Apart from the alleged unfairness of imposing a fee
to surrender Indian passports, Kapadia said new rules levying
different fees for the same consular service had worsened the
For those Indian-origin people who acquired British
citizenship before 31 May 2010, the fee is 14 pounds, while
the fee applicable to those acquiring such citizenship after 1
June 2010 is 102 pounds.
Any Indian-origin people who acquired British
citizenship before 31 May 2010 but applied on 1 June or later
were asked to pay 102 pounds, raising a welter of protest and
demands for refund of the fee difference.
Kapadia said: "The Indian government is treating
Indian-origin people like milk cows. First, there should not be a fee at all to surrender Indian passports; secondly, why should people who acquired UK
nationality before 31 May 2010 pay the new fee of 102 pounds?"
The HSMP Forum has been approached by many
Indian-origin people with complaints that they were forced to
pay the fee of 102 pounds per person even though they acquired
UK citizenship long before 31 May 2010.
Many such individuals have approached the Indian high
commission for a refund of the fee difference.
Kapadia said: "We hope the Indian government will take
notice of these issues and the Indian Parliament will find a
permanent solution to this situation.
The HSMP Forum had earlier written to the Indian Prime
Minister appealing to make dual citizenship a reality, in line
with major democracies like the US and the UK who allow their
citizens right of dual or multiple nationality".