Goa MLA a Portugal citizen, likely to be disqualified

Goa MLA Caetano Silva stands to be disqualified as a legislator after the Union home ministry found that he is a foreigner under India's citizenship law.

A probe against the Goa Vikas Party MLA showed he had acquired a Portugal citizenship in 2010.

Since Indian law does not allow dual citizenship, any Indian who becomes a citizen of another country is deemed to have relinquished his or her Indian citizenship.

Silva’s troubles began soon after he won the last assembly elections. His rival filed a complaint against him, alleging that Silva had been registered in Portugal as a citizen in August 2010.

Besides losing the status of legislator, Silva as a foreign national will have to apply for a visa if he wants to stay in India.

Silva is the second ‘foreigner’ found to have won elections to a state assembly within the past year.

Former Punjab minister Avtar Henry was the first. A home ministry probe found that Henry had been a British citizen since 1969. Having contested assembly elections six times and served as a minister twice, Henry has since appealed against the ministry’s decision.

The home ministry is also probing a similar complaint received against Goa MLA Glen John Ticlo, who became a citizen of Portugal in 2006.

However, Ticlo relinquished his Portuguese citizenship after a formal complaint against him was filed with the home ministry in January this year. The complaint alleged that he was a citizen of Portugal when he had filed his nomination for the 2012 assembly elections.


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