Stop granting Portuguese nationality to Goans: Embassy

DIPANJAN ROY CHOUDHURY/ET, NEW DELHI | 05 November 2013 22:12 IST

The Portuguese embassy in India has recommended to its government that the country end the policy of granting nationality to Goan residents born before December 20, 1961, and their descendants to improve bilateral ties between the two countries and avoid legal disputes over dual citizenship.

"The Portuguese government has to take a political call on whether to continue with this practice and for how long," said a senior Portuguese government official. 

Portugal doesn't have any cut-off date for granting nationality to people from former colonies in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule in December 1961 and ties have been uneven between the two nations.

Having snapped diplomatic ties over the status of Goa in 1955, they were only restored in 1974. Embassies reopened the next year.

In 2012-13, of around 2,200 Goa residents who got Portuguese nationality, 500 were government employees, a matter of concern for the Indian state.

Portuguese government officials acknowledge that for most applicants, if not all, the objective of citizenship is entry into the European Union to try and find work in the more prosperous parts of the continent.

Anyone becoming a Portuguese national has to give up Indian citizenship as the country doesn't allow dual nationality.

Since 2011, names of 1,968 Goan residents with Portuguese nationality have been deleted from the voters list in Goa.

Residents of the Union territories of Daman, Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli are eligible to apply for Portuguese nationality as well as these areas were also former colonies of the European country.

The policy has led to several legal disputes over Goan government officials said to have Portuguese nationality.

The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court is hearing a case pertaining to allegations of dual citizenship against two legislators -- Glen Ticlo of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Caetano Silva of the Goa Vikas Party.

An improvement in ties with India could benefit Portugal, one of the countries worst hit by the European debt crisis.

Original Report

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Previous Comments

Portuguese Government have to take proper decision

about stopping issuing nationality. They must bear in mind

such step will harm relationship of Goan.Do not cover up

or government/politicians. Politician and Government are

just empty tools for 5 years. Correct position for issuing

with correct documentation will not harm, whatever others

says Portuguese government must ignored this plan. Keep

things going on issuing correct candidate issuing nationality

without harm if documentations are in order.

- Domnick Rodrigues, Goa | 12 th November 2013 13:43

 

It is common knowledge that those born in former Portuguese State of India before 19th December 1961 are Portuguese nationals in the eyes of the Portuguese law, not in India's.

.

Nationality in question is bestowed upon (Atribuição da Nacionalidade) and not acquired (Aquisição da nacionalidade) by Registration or Naturalization.

The so called "birth registration" is actually transcription of birth, Transcrição de Nascimento, without which Portugal has no way to know who was born in Portuguese India before 19th Dec 1961 , since the birth registration books remained in India. Had the Portuguese taken the books with them, there would not have been this controversy today, thus any one having obtained the Portuguese passport would renounce his Indian citizenship.



Many are not interested in the nationality but maintain the right for posterity, knowing that after a few years they may not be able to get a copy of birth certificate as the registers are already in a very bad shape.

Portuguese embassy in Delhi should be in a better position to explain to the Indian authorities the special and unique case of people of former Portuguese India who were granted the right to nationality, which no other colonial power did to their subjects, hence ought to be treated with exception as long as they don't carry two passports .

.

Sabino Fernandes

Toronto

- Sabino Fernandes, Toronto | 07 th November 2013 21:33

 

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