Changes in the rights given to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), will be considered foreign nationals

India has changed the rights given to Overseas Citizens of India (O.C.I.) and placed them in the category of foreign national in various cases. Through the new notification issued under the Citizenship Act 1955, many restrictions have also been imposed on them.

The new notification will replace the three notifications issued in April 2005, January 2007 and January 2009. The government has taken this step after the defeat in recent cases related to it.

In a case the Home Ministry had revoked the O.C.I. status of an American-Indian doctor. He was preaching religion in Bihar giving treatment to the poor.

Although the practice of preaching the religion was exempted by the Delhi High Court for the doctors, as there was no law to stop the O.C.I. from doing so. Doctor was also asked to issue O.C.I. card back. 
In another case, the Karnataka High Court had asked O.C.I. students to be treated as Indian citizens during their admission in various courses.

By 2020, a total of 60 lakh people in the world have O.C.I. cards. These cards are given to such people and their matrimonial companions who are of Indian origin, people of Indian origin whose next generations became citizens of Pakistan and Bangladesh. 

O.C.I. card holders get an opportunity to live and work in India indefinitely. Like Indian citizens, many rights are also available.

Although they do not get Indian citizenship, neither can they vote and nor can get government post. The government can withdraw the OCI card whenever it wants.

Now O.C.I. will have to get special permission from research work to missionary or tablighi events in the country. The Ministry of Home Affairs will also have to take permission for journalism and its related activities and to go to various prohibited, restricted and protected areas. An important impact of the notification will be on O.C.I. journalists serving foreign institutions. They have to get permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs to work in India.

The O.C.I. category of people who are empowered in FEMA have also been considered as foreign nationals for activities under FEMA in the economic, financial and education sectors in the country. In this law enacted in 2003, till now they had rights like NRI.

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