PANJIM: The Commission for NRI Affairs, Goa has written to the Indian Mission in Canada raising serious concerns about the denial of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status to Canadian citizens of Goan origin.
In a communication to High Commission of India in Ottawa/Consulate General of India in Toronto, the NRI Commission has pointed out that the Portuguese language documents, translated in English are not accepted by the consulate and subsequently the OCI card is denied.
“The Government of Goa would be highly grateful if the Mission would accept these documents while processing the applications of persons with Goan origin who are forced to rely upon the birth records registered during the erstwhile Portuguese regime, for grant of OCI card status,” OSD to Commissioner for NRI Affairs UD Kamat said in the letter.
Kamat said that the Commission has been receiving representations from Goan Overseas Associations in Canada about the difficulties faced by some of their members in getting OCI card status. “As the Mission would be aware, Section 7A of the Citizenship Act 1955, by which the OCI was introduced, mandates the proof of Indian origin through the birth of the applicant taken place in India and if not that of either the parent or the grandparent,” he stated.
Kamat said that as far as Goa, Daman and Diu is concerned, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, via a notification dated March 28, 1962 conferred Indian citizenship on persons born before Liberation with effect from December 20, 1961. “The records of birth taken place before Liberation of these territories are maintained in Portuguese language,” he said.
“The records are then translated into English either through notary or the official translator notified by the government. These documents are then relied upon as proof of India origin while applying for OCI card to the Mission for acceptance,” the OSD stated.
Kamat said, that the Commission has received complaints that such documents are often not accepted and consequently persons of Goan origin, settled in Canada and having obtained Canadian citizenship, are denied the facility of getting OCI status and are left with no alternative but to apply for tourist visa on every occasion they intend to visit the State.