An Indian woman has won her legal fight to be granted a British passport based on her father’s UK citizenship.
Deelavathi Bondada, the daughter of an Indian immigrant who settled in Britain and became a UK citizen, had requested a British passport to escape an abusive marriage in India.
However, immigration authorities denied her request based on doubts over her paternity.
A British judge has now ruled that those doubts were “untenable” and granted the 45-year-old British citizenship on the basis of her descent.
Justice Walker was asked to rule on the dispute between the Home Office and Bondada, who was born in India in 1969, two years after her father Chandraiah became a British citizen.
He ruled that she was a British citizen by descent and therefore entitled to a UK passport. The ruling last week quashed the Home Office’s October 2013 decision refusing her one.
Walker said government officials who objected to Deelavathi’s claim had ignored “compelling DNA evidence”. He said the unsupported speculation that her mother, Ganikamma, who was now 86, had a secret lover who fathered Deelavathi was “so far-fetched as to be absurd”.
“It is not a real possibility, let alone a possibility of such substance as to enable the court to make a finding that Deelavathi has not shown on the balance of probability that Chandraiah was her father,” the judge said in a written ruling.
“The result was that this stance effectively made an accusation that [Deelavathi’s] mother has lied about the patronage of her children for more than 60 years. At a very late stage in the present proceedings the home secretary accepted the DNA evidence.
“Nevertheless the stance taken on behalf of the home secretary when rejecting (Deelavathi’s) claim has, without a shred of evidence to support it, continued to make the same effective accusation. The conduct of the UK government in this regard has been grotesque.”
The judge said lawyers representing the Home Office were not to blame but had been asked to “defend an impossible position”. Deelavathi’s family said she had been born in the village of Nagullanka near Chennai, Walker said.
He had analysed “crucial issues” about her date of birth and her parents’ marital status before concluding that a decision to refuse her a passport should be quashed.