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Calcutta High Court Seeks State Govt's Response On Application Of Foreigners Act, 1946 On Religious Minorities Protected Under CAA 2019

Aaratrika Bhaumik
28 Sep 2021 2:58 PM GMT
Calcutta High Court Seeks State Govts Response On Application Of Foreigners Act, 1946 On Religious Minorities Protected Under CAA 2019
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The Calcutta High Court last week sought the State government's stand on the application of the Foreigners Act, 1946 in respect of prosecution of religious minorities from Bangladesh in light of the fact that non-Muslim religious minorities from neighboring countries have been precluded from being treated as 'illegal immigrants' vide the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The...

The Calcutta High Court last week sought the State government's stand on the application of the Foreigners Act, 1946 in respect of prosecution of religious minorities from Bangladesh in light of the fact that non-Muslim religious minorities from neighboring countries have been precluded from being treated as 'illegal immigrants' vide the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 amended the Citizenship Act, 1955 by inserting a proviso to Section 2, Sub-section 1 of the principal legislation. The amendment grants citizenship on the basis of religion to non-Muslim communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014.

Pursuant to the amendment, on acquiring citizenship such migrants shall be deemed to be Indian citizens from the date of their entry into India and all legal proceedings regarding their status as illegal migrants shall be dismissed. 

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 stipulates the following proviso to Section 2(1)(b), 

"Provided that any person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December 2014 and who has been exempted by the Central Government by or under clause (c) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 or from the application of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 or any rule or order made  thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrant for the purposes of this Act;"

Justice Kausik Chanda observed, 

"Let a notice be issued by the Registry to the learned Advocate General to disclose the stand of the State Government with regard to the application of Foreigner Act, 1946 to the persons belonging the communities as indicated in the aforesaid proviso"

It was further noted that in several cases, religious minorities from Bangladesh were being prosecuted under Section 14 and Section 14C of the Foreigners Act, 1946 by the State despite the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. 

"It is the experience of the Court that in several cases, the religious minorities from Bangladesh are being prosecuted under Section 14/14C of the Foreigners Act, 1946 by the State", the Court remarked. 

The Court was adjudicating upon a bail application of an individual belonging to a non-Muslim religious community in Bangladesh who had been booked under Sections 14/14C of the Foreigners Act, 1946. Granting bail to the petitioner, the Court directed, 

"The petitioner shall be released on an interim bail subject to furnishing a bond of Rs.5,000/- (Rupees Five Thousand Only), with one surety of like amount, to the satisfaction of the learned Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bangaon, North 24-Parganas"

The Court also recorded that it was prima facie satisfied with regard to the citizenship of the petitioner. 

"It has been fairly submitted by the learned advocate appearing for the State that, the ration card and the residential certificate, as relied upon by the petitioner in this application for bail, are genuine", the Court further observed. 

Accordingly, the matter was directed to be listed after 2 weeks

Case Title: Sudha Rani Das v. State 

Click Here To Read/Download Order 


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