The Gauhati High Court set aside an ex parte order declaring a person to be a foreigner when it was brought to the court’s notice that the person was already deceased when the case was registered. The single-judge bench of Justice Kotiswar Singh said that there could not have been any proceeding against a dead person. While the court noticed that the reference was made in 2004, and the proceedee died in 2007, it stated that the case was registered in 2011, after his death.
The petition was filed by Papu Roy, son of one late Ranjeet Roy, against the ex-parte order passed in October 2019 by Foreigners’ Tribunal 8th, Nagaon, Assam. The order states that the proceeding was initiated in terms of a reference made by the Superintendent of Police (Border), Nagaon against Ranjeet Roy and since he did not appear before the Tribunal, it was proceeded ex-parte by holding that the proceedee failed to discharge his burden of proving his case as required under Section 9 of Foreigners Act, 1946 and declared him a foreigner of the post March 25, 1971 stream under Section 2(a) of Foreigners Act.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted that neither the petitioner nor his late father were aware of the proceedings. Further it was submitted that Ranjeet Roy passed away on January 15, 2007. The petitioner, as a matter of fact, submitted that any proceeding initiated against his father, Ranjeet Roy would have abated on his death and hence, the ex-parte order would be null and void.
This is an important declaration to be made since the declaration of Ranjeet Roy as a foreigner will have serious and adverse implications to his descendants, including the petitioner, as regards citizenship.
The court noticed that the name on the death certificate presented with the petition had the spelling Ranjit Roy s/o Lt. Ramani Roy and the ex parte order had the spelling Ranjeet Roy but the name of the father was the same.
The court was satisfied with the petitioner’s submission that since Ranjeet Roy died in January 2007, the case could not have been proceeded against him, which was registered in 2011, even though the reference was made in 2004. There could not have been any proceeding against a dead person, the court said.
The court thus set aside the ex-parte order passed against the deceased Ranjeet Roy. The court, however, clarified that if any question arises on the citizenship of the petitioner or any of the descendants of the Late Ranjeet Roy, it is left to the wisdom of the authorities to consider the same in accordance with law.
The complete order may be read here:
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