Jailed six weeks over not returning for NS duties

Born in India, he became liable for national service when he was given Singapore citizenship at the age of four.

But he was out of Singapore for more than four years without a valid exit permit, and when the time came to do his duty, Jay Kamal Shah stayed on in India to complete his studies.

He surrendered only last year, and yesterday, the 22-year-old was jailed six weeks for remaining outside Singapore from Nov 3, 2010 to Dec 8, 2014 without permission.

He was given a one-week concurrent jail term for failing to enlist for national service in March last year. He did so only about two months later.

Shah graduated from college in India in 2012, and a Bachelor of Management Studies course last year.

His Singaporean mother had tried to apply for his national service deferment but this was rejected. She also e-mailed the authorities that she wished to renounce her son's Singapore citizenship.

Shah returned to Singapore on April 28 last year, and enlisted for national service about a month later.

His lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said in mitigation that Shah chose to wait until he had completed his examinations before returning to Singapore to surrender himself so that he would not be considered a "drop-out".

Urging the court to impose a fine, counsel said Shah had done well in national service, and may be considering a career in the army.

He also said Shah did not have the benefits and privileges of possessing a Singapore citizenship, having spent his entire life in India.

Shah could have been fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to three years on each charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Jailed six weeks over not returning for NS duties'. Print Edition | Subscribe