More about citizenship, passports, and voting rights for Tibetans in India

Information and articles about citizenship, and exile Tibetan citizenship, voting rights, and passport for exile Tibetans in India

The process for an exile Tibetan to get a passport in India is in the “Citizenship” section of the main India page.

Citizenship for Tibetans in India

Citizenship Act of 1955

History of citizenship law

Passport for Tibetans in India

History of passport law:

Below is a summary of the legal history of getting passport for Tibetans in India.

  • The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a letter dated 17 March 2017, ordered all Indian passport issuing authorities in India and Indian missions abroad to issue passports to eligible Tibetans [View MEA letter (PDF)]
  • MEA streamlines RC/IC surrender process for applying for passport – 17 September 2018 [Download PDF] [Download PDF from]
  • Delhi High Court order to cease obstruction of RC/IC surrender process – 14 September 2018 [Download PDF]
  • Delhi High Court judgment on the contempt petition against MEA, by Justice Manmohan – 21 February 2017 [Download PDF]
  • Delhi High Court – Contempt petition against MEA – 14 February 2017 [Download PDF]
  • Delhi High Court judgment orders government to issue passport to Tibetans – 22 September 2016 [Download PDF]
  • Delhi High Court – Petition asking for issuance of passport for qualified Tibetans filed against the Government of India – 10 May 2016 [Download PDF[/drg_ink]]

Voting rights for Tibetans in India

Background and more information:

Details about some problems

Why did the Election Commission of India order local ECs to issue election cards to Tibetans?
The Election Commission of India wrote on 7 February 2014 to all states to enroll Tibetans born in India between 26 January 1950 and 1 July 1987 as voters.
The Delhi and Bangalore High Court ruling that Tibetans born in India before July 1987, and their children, are citizens under India’s citizenship law and are entitled to passports, was followed by the Election Commission of India making provision for them to register as voters.
The government of India still considered all Tibetans born in India and their children as foreigners, whose stay in India is temporary, and allowed on humanitarian grounds.
Do Tibetans who get Indian passport have to leave their settlement?
As of 7 November 2017, the Delhi High Court quashed a Government of India rule asking Tibetans to leave settlements after obtaining Indian citizenship.
You can see the ruling here on the government website as a PDF file.
Problems in IC application process
A letter to the editor at [10 October 2018]

This page was posted on 28 April 2016; last updated 23 April 2020.

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