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Karnataka High Court grants conditional relief to actor Chetan Kumar

Karnataka High Court grants conditional relief to actor Chetan Kumar

Yesterday, Kannada actor Chetan Kumar has been granted conditional relief by the Karnataka High Court after his Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card was cancelled by the Union government.

The bench headed by Justice M Nagaprasanna said that Chetan should refrain from posting about the judiciary or commenting on pending cases on social media. The court also granted him protection from any action until June 2.

The OCI card is a provision for permanent residency available to persons of Indian origin, which allows them to live and work in India indefinitely. However, OCI is not equivalent to citizenship as India does not recognise dual citizenship. OCI holders cannot vote in India either.

Chetan was issued an OCI card in 2018 and has been jailed twice for his tweets. He was first arrested in February 2022, when he tweeted criticising Karnataka High Court judge Krishna Dixit. He was also arrested this year on March 21, when he tweeted that “Hindutva was built on lies.” In June 2022, he was issued a show-cause notice by the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), stating that he made derogatory comments against judges and committed other anti-national activities. In this notice, he was asked to explain why his OCI card should not be cancelled.

On April 14, 2023, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) notified Chetan that his OCI had been cancelled due to alleged 'anti-national' activities and derogatory comments against judges, with immediate effect. The MHA cited Chetan's unsatisfactory response to their notice as the reason for the cancellation.

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