By Quashing Foreigner's Tribunal Order, Indian Citizenship was restored to a Assam Native By SC

Team SoOLEGAL 20 Feb 2019 12:17pm

By Quashing Foreigner's Tribunal Order, Indian Citizenship was restored to a Assam Native By SC

What can be the consequence of minor discrepancies in the name of one's grandfather in documents? Maybe not much of a consequence for any common citizen but for Sirajul Hoque, a native of Assam it meant a loss of his Indian citizenship.

 Sirajul Hoque’s grandfather's name was shown as Keftullah instead of Kematullah in some documents due to this Foreigner's Tribunal declared him as a foreigner. Also, that his grandfather and father later lived in different villages was an additional ground for Tribunal's conclusion.

He petitioned against the Tribunal's declaration in the High Court, but High Court declined interference by adopting a highly technical approach. The High Court said that he did not mention material facts were his application. At last, he approached the Supreme Court facing the problem of loss of citizenship and imminent deportation.

The 2 judge bench of Supreme Court comprising Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran, quashed the order of Foreigner's Tribunal and declared Sirajul Hoque's citizenship.

It was observed by the bench of Supreme Court that he had relied on several documents to support his claim, one of the first document that he brought was, a voters' list of his grandfather Kematullah in village Sotobashjani. Although in certain other documents, his grandfather's name was shown as Kefatullah, though with the same family name. But his father's name and great grandfather's name are shown in all documents with complete consistency.

It was observed by the bench that in 1981, the Income Tax Department issued a PAN card to him. He was also having a photo identity card issued by the Election Commission, and he had his name in the voter's list. Considering these pieces of evidences, the Court gave its view that it is not possible to state that Kematullah is not the same despite being named Kefatullah in some of the documents.

Justice Nariman held in his bold Judgement "the grandfather's identity, father's identity etc. has been established successfully by the appellant. Further, the mere fact that the father may later have gone to another village is no reason to doubt this document".

The order assumes great significance as Assam is raging with intense citizenship debate in view of the ongoing NRC process, and also the Citizenship Amendment Bill mooted by the Central Government proposing to legitimize the entry of non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.

Tagged: Citizenship   assam   sc   tribunalorder  
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