The Indian Express has learned that Indian expatriating families are still not being protected under Indian law after the Supreme Court upheld a ruling that struck down the nation’s laws on social and cultural ties.
In a landmark ruling, the court upheld the constitutionality of the Indian Constitution that bans the use of state resources to support foreign-born Indians.
The apex court also upheld the National Education Guarantee Act of 2011 that allows a parent or guardian of an Indian citizen who is a non-resident to apply for a National Education Grant for the child of a foreign national.
The judges noted that the government had made it clear that children of Indian nationals are not eligible for a national education grant.
The judgement was welcomed by rights groups, including the Federation of Indian American Students (FIAS) and the Indian American Congress, who argued that the judgment could have a devastating effect on Indian-born students, many of whom are already struggling to access education in the country.
“It was a blow to the Indian government,” said Anant Agarwal, president of the Federation for Indian American Student Associations (FIASHA), a group that represents some 100,000 Indian-American students.
“The decision gives us hope for the future.”
Indian citizens and permanent residents, who can be legally considered Indians under Indian laws, are entitled to an equal right to education under the constitution, which was adopted in 1965.
But the Supreme court said that this right is not absolute.
“The right to access to educational resources is one of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian constitution, but the government has not recognized the right to the right of choice in the allocation of these resources,” Justice Anil Raghavan wrote.
“We are also concerned that there is a lack of clarity in the government’s position regarding the extent of the obligation to provide educational resources,” said Bishwajit Singh, president, National Congress of Indian National Students (NCIS) India, an umbrella group representing some 50,000 students across the country, and who was among those who took to the streets in protest against the ruling.
India is among the most unequal societies in the world, with nearly one in five Indians living below the poverty line, and many Indians living in rural areas, where most families lack access to the amenities of urban life.
The ruling also came as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that he will appoint a new judge to the Supreme Judicial Court (SKC) who will have to rule on cases involving Indian citizens, permanent residents and refugees who are not covered by the constitution.
The new judge will be appointed by the SKC after the new government assumes power, but will not be eligible to serve on the court.
“I have decided that I will appoint the new judge, and I will do it after the government takes office,” Modi told reporters.
“We have decided to appoint a Supreme Court judge, who will not have to be a Supreme Judicial Magistrate, to the SKU and the SCJ.”
A judge of the SKWC, who has been appointed to the court by the newly elected government, will be the first Indian judge appointed to a high court by a prime minister.
But India has faced criticism in recent months for a spate of attacks on Indian nationals in India, including a deadly rampage in the western state of Gujarat in February that left at least 58 people dead and hundreds injured.
The Supreme Court ruling comes as the government of India has been trying to bring more foreign nationals into the country in a bid to address a growing number of migrant workers from the Middle East and North Africa.
The government has made efforts to attract the top talent from these regions to fill a shortage of skilled workers in the nation.
According to data from the government, nearly 200,000 foreign nationals have applied for permanent residency in India since March 2015, according to data provided by the ministry of external affairs.
The government has been struggling to recruit and retain foreign professionals and has also been criticised for failing to implement its ambitious immigration reform programme.
The ministry of human resources and government employment has said it will soon hire more than 1,000 new permanent foreign workers, bringing the number of foreign workers in India to more than 100,00, an increase of more than 40 percent from 2015.
The minister of human resource and government recruitment has promised to bring in more than 500,000 people from the UAE and other countries by 2019.
The move comes as Prime Minister Modi and his government are seeking to attract foreign talent and investors to boost the country’s economy.
The prime minister has pledged to hire an additional 30,000 migrant workers over the next five years to bolster the economy.