GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has dismissed the writ petition of a woman, declared a “foreigner” by a foreigners’ tribunal, as she failed to establish her linkage with her father.
While passing its order, a division bench of Justices Manojit Bhuyan and Parthivjyoti Saikia quoted from the judgement of a 2016 case between Md. Babul Islam versus Union of India passed by the Gauhati HC. It had held that “PAN Card and Bank documents are not proof of citizenship”.
The division bench observed that land revenue-paying receipts do not prove the citizenship of a person. Land and bank documents were among the 14 admissible documents in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and as such, one wonders about the fate of those who made it to the NRC based on these documents.
NRC state coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma did not answer queries made through WhatsApp. Some advocates, who said they have not yet read the judgement of the division bench, spoke about technicalities while speaking on the issue.
“NRC is an administrative matter while this is a judicial matter. Court goes technically based on evidence. I have to first read the court’s order and understand in what context, the court made the observation. Only then, I will be able to comment on this,” senior advocate Hafiz Rashid Ahmed Chowdhury of Gauhati HC told this newspaper.
Advocate Rahul Dhar said, “A land or bank document alone cannot prove one’s citizenship. What is to be examined is if it is a pre-1971 document and whose. If it is of a man’s father or grandfather, then the man has to prove his linkage with them. In any case, I will get a fair idea once I read the order of the division bench”.
Jabeda Begum aka Jabeda Khatun had filed a writ petition in the court challenging the order of the foreigners’ tribunal, Baksa that declared her a foreigner of post-1971 stream.
A certificate issued by the village chief declaring that Jabeda was the daughter of the late Jabed Ali and married to one Rejak Ali was among 14 documents she had submitted to the tribunal. But the tribunal, as well as the Gauhati HC, ruled that village heads are not entitled to issue certificate supporting the citizenship of a person. They held that the petitioner had failed to file documents linking herself with her projected parents.
“This Court in Md. Babul Islam Vs. Union of India [WP(C)/3547/2016], has already held that PAN Card and bank documents are not proof of citizenship…Land revenue-paying receipts do not prove a citizenship of a person. Therefore, we find that the tribunal has correctly appreciated the evidences placed before it and we could find any perversity in the decision of the tribunal,” the court observed.