Voter ID not conclusive proof of Citizenship: Gauhati HC reaffirms previous order

Legal News, Nation, (Guwahati), February 18:-The Gauhati High Court has reaffirmed that a voter photo identity card can’t be conclusive proof of an individual’s citizenship. The High Court’s observation was in the context of assessing who is a foreigner as per the terms of the Assam Accord.

The court also held that land revenue receipts, a PAN card and bank documents cannot be used to prove citizenship.

The division bench of Justice Manojit Bhuyan and Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia reiterated an earlier judgement of the court while hearing a writ petition, which challenged the verdict of a foreigners’ tribunal in Tinsukia district of upper Assam, filed by Munindra Biswas.

In Md. Babul Islam versus State of Assam (No. 3547), the court had ruled that “electoral photo identity card is not a proof of citizenship”.

Biswas, who was declared a foreigner by the tribunal in July 2019, submitted to the court that his grandfather Durga Charan Biswas belonged to Nadia district of West Bengal and his father Indra Mohan Biswas migrated to Tinsukia district of Assam in 1965.

The petitioner said he was born in Assam, is a resident of Margherita town of Tinsukia district and submitted proof of his name in the 1997 voters’ list. He also attached land documents from 1970. However, the court concluded that the petitioner failed to furnish a voters’ list prior to 1997 to prove that his parents entered Assam before January 1, 1966 and he was living in the state prior to March 24, 1971.

As per Clause 6A of the Citizenship Act, an outcome of the Assam Accord, the base year for citizenship exclusive to Assam is January 1, 1966. Those who settled in the state between January 1, 1966 and March 24, 1971 are to lose their right to vote for a period of ten years and on completion of that period would be regularised.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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