GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has set aside an order of a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) that declared a man “foreigner” even after he had established his linkage with his father and grandfather.
Haidar Ali had established his linkage with his father, Harmuz Ali, and grandfather, Nadu Miya, whose names figured in the voters’ lists of 1965 and 1970. However, the FT, Barpeta observed that he had failed to establish his linkage with his other projected relatives in the two voters’ lists and declared him a foreigner by an order passed on January 30, 2019.
Ali had moved the Gauhati High Court challenging the Tribunal’s order. The court heard the case on March 15 this year and passed an order in his favour on March 30.
A single judge bench of Justice N Kotiswar Singh said, “…Non-explanation of the linkage of the petitioner with others whose names were shown along with his grandparents in the voters’ list of 1970 does not affect the credibility or genuineness of the evidence in the form of voters’ list of 1970, to show the linkage of the petitioner with his grandparents”.
The court said the “fact in issue” required to be considered by the Tribunal was whether Harmuz Ali was the father of the petitioner and Haowa Khatun, his mother, and whether Nadu Miya and Aymona Nessa were the parents of Harmuz Ali, who undisputedly were all Indian citizens.
“The voters’ list of 1965 shows that the names of Nadu Mia and Aymona Nessa are included who the petitioner claims to be his grandparents, thereby showing that they were Indian citizens,” the court observed.
It further said the fact that Harmuz Ali was the son of Nadu Miya was duly proved by the voters’ lists of 1965 and 1970, the genuineness of which was not questioned by the State.
“Thus, non-explanation of relationship of the petitioner with other persons…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…
“Thus, the plea of the petitioner that his father, Harmuz Ali was the son of Nadu Miya stands proved. What is, thereafter, required to be proved was whether Harmuz Ali was the father of the petitioner, which in our view was also proved...
“…The documents clearly show the linkage of the petitioner with his father Harmuz Ali and grandfather, Nadu Miya and accordingly, we have no hesitation to hold that the petitioner is an Indian citizen and not a foreigner,” the court order further reads.
The FTs declare a man foreigner based on the Assam Accord of 1985. It says the immigrants, who entered the state after March 24, 1971, are to be detected and deported. The National Register of Citizens of 1951 was updated based on this cut-off date.