Ottawa-born Deepan Budlakoti will challenge decision that leaves him stateless
Ottawa – Unceded, Unsurrendered Algonquin Land, 10 September 2014 – A shocking and deplorable decision handed down yesterday by Justice Phelan of the Federal Court claims that the stripping of Deepan Budlakoti’s citizenship is consistent with the laws of Canada. At the age of 21, Budlakoti, who was born in Ottawa, was suddenly informed that he was not a citizen. This resulted in his inability to hold a job, access health care, or receive other benefits of citizenship. Justice Phelan claims that this process of denationalization is not an infringement of Deepan’s charter rights (s. 6 & 7).
“Obviously, I will appeal,” said Deepan Budlakoti. “I refuse to be exiled from my homeland, to be made an outcast in my own society. This case is important for everyone in Canada, it sets a precedent that we should all be worried about.”
The Justice for Deepan Support Committee is hugely disappointed that the court would take such an abstract view of Deepan’s situation.
“Even if the court does not recognize the mass of doubt surrounding the government’s contention that Deepan’s parents did not work for the Indian Embassy at the time of his birth, it is entirely reasonable that, after living in this country for 21 years with no other nationality, Deepan would expect that he is a Canadian citizen”, said Stacy Douglas, Assistant Professor of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University and member of the support committee.
“While it is true that the government has the ability to give and take away citizenship, this particular decision made by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is unreasonable because it unfairly punishes Deepan 21 years after the original error,” Douglas said.
The Federal Court’s decision fails to recognize any responsibility of Canada towards Deepan despite his life-long exclusive link to this country, and in the face of obligations under the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness requiring Canada to reduce rather than perpetuate statelessness.
“It is highly disappointing that the Federal Court is prepared to allow Deepan to languish as a stateless person indefinitely,” said Yavar Hameed, one of Deepan’s lawyers.
Budlakoti and his lawyers are currently reviewing all options including an appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal based on the apparent errors and omissions in the Federal Court’s decision.
Deepan Budlakoti: 613-265-1364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Stieda, Legal Counsel: 613-304-1763 or 613-236-1111
Yavar Hameed, Legal Counsel: tel. 613.232.2688 ext. 228
Stacy Douglas, Support Committee Member: 613-710-9059
Justice for Deepan Committee