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Gauhati HC Rules in Favour of Man Called ‘Foreigner’ by Tribunal

The Quint
·2 min read

The Gauhati High Court on 30 March ruled in favour of Haider Ali, a man who was declared a ‘foreigner’ by the Foreigners Tribunal (FT) in Assam’s Barpeta. Ali had moved the HC challenging the FT’s order on 15 March 2021.

The FT are Quasi judicial courts mandated to hear appeals of people whose names have not been included in the NRC list.

Ali had submitted documents proving his father and grandfather are Indian citizens and registered voters in the lists of 1965 and 1970. The Tribunal, on 30 January 2019 declared Ali as a “foreigner” for failing to prove other relatives as linkages, and thereafter failing to prove linkages properly.

Also Read: Assam Polls: EC Orders Repolling at 4 Booths in 3 Constituencies

The HC ruled that, “A person who has proved linkage with parents/grandparents, whose names are in voters lists, can't be declared a foreigner just because he did not show linkage with all his relatives,” quoted Live Law.

What Did the HC Say?

A single judge bench of Justice N Kotiswar Singh said, “What was crucial and required of the petitioner was to prove before the Tribunal that Harmuz Ali was his father and that Harmuz Ali was the son of Nadu Miya, who were admittedly Indians. The fact that Harmuz Ali was the son of Nadu Miya has been already duly proven by the aforesaid voters' lists of 1970 and 1965, genuineness of which was not questioned by the state,” quoted Live Law.

“Thus, non explanation of relationship of the petitioner with other persons mentioned in the voters’ list of 1970 cannot be a ground for disbelieving the correctness of the entry of the names of the grandparents in the voters list, when the correctness of the entry of the names of the petitioner’s father and grandfather was not questioned,” said the court, as per the report.

The court further said that the fact in issue was not whether Ali had other relatives, but whether he could trace his ancestry to his grandfather Nadu Miya through his father, Harmuz Ali, who have been casting votes as Indians.

The court added that having other relatives would have strengthened the case, but not mentioning it doesn’t discredit the evidence when there are other corroborative evidence.

“Thus, non-mentioning of his other relatives as well as that of his father cannot be a ground for disbelieving his testimony and the documents relied upon by the petitioner," the court said, ruling in Ali’s favor, as per Live Law.

(With inputs from Live Law)

Also Read: NRC Row: BSF Jawan, Wife Declared ‘Foreigners’ by Assam Tribunal

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