GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has allowed the request of a declared ‘foreigner’, who had entered Assam between the period 1966 and 1971, to extend the period for registering himself with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
The petitioner, Sakat Ali, was referred to the Foreigners’ Tribunal Number 9, Barpeta for rendering an opinion as to whether he is a person who had entered Assam from the specified territory on or after March 25, 1971, and accordingly, a case (F.T. 9th (BPT) case number 706/2018) was registered.
The tribunal rendered its opinion on September 20, 2022, arriving at a conclusion that the petitioner is a foreigner who had entered Assam between the period 1966 and 1971. Accordingly, the petitioner was covered by the provisions of Section 6A (3) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
The petitioner is content with the said finding but is aggrieved to the extent that the time referred for getting registered with Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office, Barpeta had elapsed in the meantime.
“In view of the limited grievance raised, we allow the petitioner to get himself registered as a person who had entered the state of Assam between the period 1966 and 1971 from the specified territory with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office, Barpeta within a period of one month from today,” the division bench of the High Court observed on Friday.
Section 6A (3), read with Section 6A(6) (b) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, provides that a person who has been detected as a ‘foreigner’ on the ground that he entered the State of Assam between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971, shall register himself within 60 days from the date of such detection before the concerned authority (herein FRRO), and if his name is included in any electoral roll for any Assembly or Parliamentary constituency, shall be deleted therefrom.
Further, Section 6A (4) of the Act of 1955 states that a person declared to be a foreigner and registered himself under Section 6A(3) of the Act of 1955, shall have the same rights and obligations as a citizen of India from the date of detection of him as foreigner till the expiry of 10 years except but he shall not be entitled to have his name included in any electoral roll for any Assembly or Parliamentary constituency at any time before the expiry of the said period of ten years.
However, Section 6A(5) of the Act of 1955 mandates that a person registered under Section 6A(3) shall be deemed to be a citizen of India for all purposes as from the date of expiry of a period of ten years from the date on which he has been detected to be a foreigner.
“In the event, the petitioner does not get himself registered within the aforesaid period, the implication of law that he is not a citizen of India would be made applicable in respect of the petitioner,” the court observed.
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“Even in the event of the petitioner not appearing before the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office, Barpeta, the direction to the Election Commission of India to do the needful to delete the name of the petitioner from any voters’ list wherever his name may appear would remain and be complied with by the Election Commission. The direction issued to the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office, Barpeta, to do the needful under the law as well as to take back the voter identity card issued to the petitioner be complied with,” the division bench of the court ordered.
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