Gauhati HC
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Guwahati: The Gauhati High Court has set aside an order by a foreigners’ tribunal in Nagaon district, that declared a woman as a “foreigner” without specifying the period she was alleged to have come to India.

The court observed that non-mentioning of the period of entry by the tribunal ‘was fatal’ and therefore, must be reconsidered.

“We are of the view that non-mentioning of the period of entry by the alleged foreigner would be fatal for the reason that as provided under Section 6A(2) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, subject to the provisions of sub-sections (6) and (7), all those persons of Indian origin who came to Assam from the specified territory before January 1, 1966, and who have been ordinarily resident in Assam since the dates of their entry to Assam shall be deemed to be citizens of India as from January 1, 1966,” a bench, comprising Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Malasri Nandi, noted.

“Thus, those persons, even if they illegally entered India but had entered before January 1, 1966, and had been ordinarily resident of Assam, will not be termed as foreigners but Indian citizens,” the bench stated.

The petitioner had challenged the order dated October 1, 2018, issued by the Foreigners Tribunal, 4th, Nagaon, Juria (Assam) by which the petitioner was declared a foreigner without any reference to the period during which she was alleged to have come to India.

“However, as provided under Section 6A(3), those persons who came to Assam on or after January 1, 1966, but before March 25, 1971, from the specified territory and who had been ordinarily resident of Assam, and have been detected as foreigners by the tribunal, will not be liable to be deported and have a right to be registered as citizens of India provided, they register themselves after being detected as foreigners by the Tribunal with the concerned registering authority and on expiry of 10 years thereafter, will be treated as Indian citizens,” the bench noted.

“…Those who came to Assam after March 25, 1971, will be foreigners, plain and simple, and will not be entitled to any such benefits. Therefore, it was necessary on the part of the tribunal to give the opinion concerning the time when the petitioner had allegedly entered India (Assam). However, the same has not been done as clearly evident from the opinion, and as such, we are of the view that the said opinion cannot be sustained in law and accordingly, requires to be remitted to the tribunal for fresh consideration,” it stated.

The court, while taking note of the petitioner’s contention that neither a proper enquiry was made nor a reference made, directed the petitioner to approach the foreigners’ tribunal on January 4, 2022, and ordered the tribunal to pass a fresh order per law after hearing the petitioner.



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