HC: Examine complaint against Henry

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Wednesday, directed Commissioner of Police, Jalandhar, to examine a complaint, dated September 27, that was filed against former Punjab Cabinet Minister Avtar Henry, who is at the heart of a row regarding his citizenship.

The directions came from a division bench comprising Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain on a petition filed by an RTI activist Ajay Kumar Sehgal seeking action against Henry, for allegedly changing his name to obtain an Indian passport.

The bench also directed the police to register an FIR and investigate the matter if there was anything substantial in the complaint. The high court further ordered that the entire process should be completed within two months and disposed off the case.

The petitioner submitted before the court that Henry had acquired British passport and thereby British citizenship in 1969 under the name of 'Avtar Singh'. Subsequently, however, in the same year he came to India on a British passport and obtained an Indian passport thereafter. He got the Indian passport renewed from time to time.

The petitioner further alleged that Henry changed his name to obtain the Indian passport. He also registered as a voter in the Jalandhar North Assembly Constituency as 'Avtar Henry'.

The court was informed that he contested state Assembly elections six times: in 1986, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012. He was a Punjab cabinet minister in 1992 and 2002. Counsel for the petitioner, H C Arora, contended that Avtar Henry had violated the provisions of Section 125-A of Representation of the People Act, 1951; Section 420, 467,468, 471 IPC; Section 12 of the Passports Act, 1969; and Section 5 of `The Foreigners Act, 1946.

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