Gauhati High Court Allows Declared Foreigner's Request For Extension Of Time To Register With Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office
The Gauhati High Court on Friday allowed the request of a declared ‘foreigner’, who had entered the State of Assam between the period 1966 and 1971, to extend the period for registering himself with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
The division bench of Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua and Justice Robin Phukan granted one month's time to Sakat Ali, observing, “In the event, the petitioner does not get himself registered within the aforesaid period, the implication of law that he is not a citizen of India would be made applicable in respect of the petitioner.”
The petitioner was declared a foreigner by the Foreigners’ Tribunal vide opinion dated September 20, 2022. He was aggrieved to the extent that the time referred for getting registered with FRRO had elapsed.
Section 6A(3) read with Section 6A(6) (b) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 provides that a person who has been detected as a ‘foreigner’ on the ground that he entered the State of Assam between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971, shall register himself within 60 days from the date of such detection before the concerned authority (herein FRRO) and if his name is included in any electoral roll for any Assembly or Parliamentary constituency shall be deleted therefrom.
Further, Section 6A(4) of the Act of 1955 states that a person declared to be a foreigner and registered himself under Section 6A(3) of the Act of 1955 shall have the same rights and obligations as a citizen of India from the date of detection of him as foreigner till the expiry of 10 years except but he shall not be entitled to have his name included in any electoral roll for any Assembly or Parliamentary constituency at any time before the expiry of the said period of ten years.
However, Section 6A(5) of the Act of 1955 mandates that a person registered under Section 6A(3) shall be deemed to be a citizen of India for all purposes as from the date of expiry of a period of ten years from the date on which he has been detected to be a foreigner.
It is in this backdrop that the petition was filed.
The court said upon the petitioner being registered as a person who had entered the State of Assam between the period 1966 and 1971, implication thereof that the petitioner will not be entitled to vote for the next ten years from the date of registration would be made applicable to him.
It further directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to delete the name of the petitioner from any voters’ list wherever his name may appear as per Section 6A(3) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
“Consequently, the Voter Identity Card issued to the petitioner be taken back by the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office, Barpeta”, the court ordered.
The court further directed the ECI and FRRO to comply with the aforementioned direction of the court even if the petitioner does not get himself registered with FRRO within one month.
Case Title: Sakat Ali @ Chakkat Ali v. In Re- The State of Assam & 7 Ors.
Coram: Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua and Justice Robin Phukan