‘Vice’ Journalist Angad Singh Blacklisted, Showed India in ‘Negative Manner’: Centre to Delhi HC

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According to the Union government, Singh’s documentary, ‘India Burning’, portrayed India in a “negative manner”. He was deported from Delhi to New York in August last year.

Angad BediImage: Twitter/angadsingh

New Delhi: The Union government has told the Delhi high court that Vice News journalist Angad Singh has been “blacklisted” even though he is an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder, according to Livelaw.

An affidavit filed by the Foreigners Regional Registration Office said Singh, in his documentary, had depicted India “in a negative manner”. “Singh is a blacklist subject who was blacklisted at the instance of the consulate-general of India with the remarks that if he ever arrived in India he ought not to be permitted to enter India and the consulate-general would be given information about the same,” the affidavit said, according to Indian Express.

According to the affidavit, Singh was blacklisted at the recommendation of the Consulate General of India in New York.

Justice Prathiba M Singh of the Delhi high court was hearing Singh’s plea against the Union government’s refusal to permit his entry to India. Singh was deported from Delhi to New York in August 2022.

Union government’s counsel, Anurag Ahluwalia, told the court that Singh is a “blacklisted subject” as he had allegedly violated Section 11A of the Foreigners Order, 1948. The particular provision prohibits a foreigner from producing any picture, film or documentary without permission in writing from the Union government.

Singh moved the court against the Union government’s decision to deny entry to him to India. He said the government move was “illegal” and violated Articles 14, 21 and 25 of the Indian constitution, and that he was an OCI card holder. He added that his OCI card was issued to him in March 2007 and was renewed in August 2018.

According to Singh’s counsel, Swati Sukumar, OCI cardholders enjoy all rights granted under the Indian constitution, barring certain rights mentioned under Section 7 B (2) of the Citizenship Act. She also argued that under Section 7D of the Act, OCI cards cannot be cancelled on any grounds, as provided therein.

Sukumar particularly relied on the proviso to the section which holds that an OCI cardholder would have to be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard before an order is passed for the cancellation of their card. She further said no reasons were communicated to Singh on why he was refused a special permit for the production of a food show in August 2022.

She also went on to argue that her client’s OCI card was “still valid” and that he was claimed to have been blacklisted by respondents but his OCI card had not been cancelled yet.

Meanwhile, the government’s affidavit said Singh had “misrepresented facts in the visa application for obtaining a journalistic visa in 2020 and had published a documentary titled India Burning, which depicted India in a negative manner”.

The government’s counsel, Anurag Ahluwalia, said Singh was blacklisted because he had allegedly violated Clause 11A of the Foreigners Order, 1948, which states that “no foreigner can produce a film for public exhibition without permission in writing from the central government”. Therefore, he was blacklisted despite being an OCI cardholder, Ahluwalia added.

The court listed the matter to be heard on February 28, after Ahluwali sought two weeks’ time to obtain information on “whether any showcause notice or proceedings were commenced” against Singh for the cancellation of his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.

Courtesy: The Wire