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Assam FTs barred from passing consequential orders

Passage of orders such as deletion of proceedee’s name from voters’ list, detention or deportation, deemed “unnecessary”

Sabrangindia 14 Sep 2021

Foreigners tribunal

In what could be a significant reform with respect to conduct of Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT), the Assam government has now directed FT members to refrain from passing consequential orders i.e orders on what needs to be done after a person has been declared foreigner.

A communication dated September 4, 2021, from the office of Parijat Bhuyan, Deputy Secretary to the Government of Assam in the Home and Political Department (B), addressed to members of all FTs on the subject of consequential orders, refers to a performance assessment exercise carried out by the State Judicial Department, and its subsequent recommendations.

The notice deems “consequential order for deletion of names from voter list, arrest and detention of declared foreigners” as “unnecessary”. It also notes that “consequential order for deportation etc. of the declared foreigners” passed by FTs “may not be the correct approach.”

This is a significant development and might offer relief to thousands of people faced with the herculean task of defending their citizenship before FTs. Previously, only people who had been designated “doubtful” or D-Voter by the Election Commission, or those viewed as “Suspected Foreigners” by the Border Police were served FT notices and asked to appear before these tribunals. Now, even those people who have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), that was published on August 31, 2019, will have to do the same.

The burden of proof in an FT case, rests on the proceedee i.e the person against whom proceedings have been initiated. This is stressful enough. Additionally, given how people are often declared foreigner due to minor discrepancies in their documents or even ex parte (in their absence), the situation becomes even graver.

When consequential orders for deletion of names from voters’ list, arrest, detention or deportation are passed, it not only adds to the trauma of the proceedee, but adds another layer of correction required when the decision of the FT is overturned by a higher court. For example, a person would have to then ensure that their name is re-included in the voters’ list, or worse, in case of those detained, they would have to divert their time and resources towards seeking bail and release instead of focusing on appealing against the FT judgment in a higher court. This adds to the woes of the proceedee.

The latest communication therefore attempts to redress a long-time injustice. The entire notice may be read here: ((INSERT JPEG))

Related:

Citizenship should ordinarily be decided on merit rather than by default: Gauhati HC

Citizenship should be adjudicated on basis of merit, after hearing proceedee: Gauhati HC

Assam FTs barred from passing consequential orders

Passage of orders such as deletion of proceedee’s name from voters’ list, detention or deportation, deemed “unnecessary”

Foreigners tribunal

In what could be a significant reform with respect to conduct of Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT), the Assam government has now directed FT members to refrain from passing consequential orders i.e orders on what needs to be done after a person has been declared foreigner.

A communication dated September 4, 2021, from the office of Parijat Bhuyan, Deputy Secretary to the Government of Assam in the Home and Political Department (B), addressed to members of all FTs on the subject of consequential orders, refers to a performance assessment exercise carried out by the State Judicial Department, and its subsequent recommendations.

The notice deems “consequential order for deletion of names from voter list, arrest and detention of declared foreigners” as “unnecessary”. It also notes that “consequential order for deportation etc. of the declared foreigners” passed by FTs “may not be the correct approach.”

This is a significant development and might offer relief to thousands of people faced with the herculean task of defending their citizenship before FTs. Previously, only people who had been designated “doubtful” or D-Voter by the Election Commission, or those viewed as “Suspected Foreigners” by the Border Police were served FT notices and asked to appear before these tribunals. Now, even those people who have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), that was published on August 31, 2019, will have to do the same.

The burden of proof in an FT case, rests on the proceedee i.e the person against whom proceedings have been initiated. This is stressful enough. Additionally, given how people are often declared foreigner due to minor discrepancies in their documents or even ex parte (in their absence), the situation becomes even graver.

When consequential orders for deletion of names from voters’ list, arrest, detention or deportation are passed, it not only adds to the trauma of the proceedee, but adds another layer of correction required when the decision of the FT is overturned by a higher court. For example, a person would have to then ensure that their name is re-included in the voters’ list, or worse, in case of those detained, they would have to divert their time and resources towards seeking bail and release instead of focusing on appealing against the FT judgment in a higher court. This adds to the woes of the proceedee.

The latest communication therefore attempts to redress a long-time injustice. The entire notice may be read here: ((INSERT JPEG))

Related:

Citizenship should ordinarily be decided on merit rather than by default: Gauhati HC

Citizenship should be adjudicated on basis of merit, after hearing proceedee: Gauhati HC

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