The Guahati High Court has come down on a Foreigners Tribunal for declaring a person as foreigner, despite his parents being declared as Indian Citizens by other orders.
On January 25, 2019, Foreigners Tribunal at Dhemaji in Assam declared 26-year old Pratap Sakharu as foreigner of post-1971 stream as per the Assam Accord.
He had produced six documents before the Tribunal, including an order passed by another Foreigners Tribunal in 2012 declaring his father Bahadur Sakharu as Indian citizen.
He had also submitted his birth certificate, showing the name of his father as Bahadur Sakharu and name of mother as Lakhi Sakharo. Voters list of 1997 showing the names of his parents were also produced.
The petitioner also stated in his evidence that his grandfather, Sithanath Sakharu, was an East Pakistan refugee and he came to India and registered his name in the year 1966. The certificate granting citizenship to his grandfather was also submitted.
Despite all that, the Tribunal held him to be a Foreigner observing that he failed to file document showing that his father had entered India prior to 01.01.1966.
Challenging the order, he filed writ petition in the High Court. It is also pertinent to note that the same Foreigner Tribunal at Dhemaji in another order passed on the same date had declared his mother Lakhi Sakharo as Indian Citizen. The certified copy of that order was produced by the petitioner in the HC.
Taking note of this, the HC bench comprising Justices Manojit Bhuyan and Pathivjyoti Saikia observed :
"In this case, there is no dispute that Bahadur Sakharu, the father of the petitioner, was declared as an Indian by a Tribunal on 30.11.2012. In this court the petitioner has filed a certified copy of another opinion given by a Foreigner Tribunal, Dhemaji on 25.01.2019, whereby, Lakhi Sakhar, the mother of the petitioner, was declared an Indian. If father and mother are both declared Indian by Foreigner Tribunals then we find ourselves foreclosed against all options, but to hold that the petitioner is also an Indian citizen".
The HC held the opinion of the Tribunal to be "unsustainable in law" and quashed it.
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