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Gauhati High Court allows petition against ex-parte opinion of foreigner’s tribunal

The Gauhati High Court allowed a petition alleging that the petitioner’s mother was declared a foreigner by an ex-parte opinion of the Foreigners Tribunal.

The petitioner, Tarapada Namadas, is aggrieved by an ex-parte opinion dated 25.09.1997 of the Foreigners Tribunal, Dhubri, Kokrajhar and Goalpara by which the mother of the petitioner, Sorojoni Sarkar, was declared to be a foreigner who entered Assam between 1966 and 1971. The petitioner also refers to a voters’ list of 1966 of village Pam Mayanbori, Mouza Baghbor in the Barpeta district which contains the name of Brajabasi Namadas, who is the father of the petitioner, Sorojoni Namadas is the mother of the petitioner and the name of the petitioner himself appears in the voters’ list of 1966 and therefore has to be accepted to be a citizen of India. The petitioner is aggrieved that because of the ex-parte opinion his mother was declared to be a person who entered Assam between 1966 and 1971, his legal rights as a citizen of India are being questioned by some authorities. Being aggrieved, the petition is instituted.

The petitioner also referred to an order dated 06.01.2016 of the SubDivisional Officer(Civil), Gossaigaon under Rule 3 of the Assam Registration of Birth/Death Rules, 1977 by which it had been ordered that the date of death of Sorojoni Namadas, wife of Brajabasi Namadas, is 16.05.1991 and it has to be accepted that the mother of the petitioner Sorojoni Namadas died on 16.05.1991.

When the Court verified the records of service of notice on Sorojoni Namadas in connection with case of the Foreigners Tribunal at Dhubri, Kokrajhar and Goalpara, it is noted by the Court that there is a report by the Process Server containing the signature as well as the left thumb impression of Sorojoni Das in 1997. “If Sorojoni Das died in 1991, the report of the Process Server appears to be a frivolous report,” noted the Divisin Bench of Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua and Justice Robin Phukan.

From the point of view that the notice was not appropriately served upon Sorojoni Sarkar and also from the point of view that when the opinion was rendered, Sorojoni Sarkar, wife of Brajabasi Sarkar was no more, the Bench observed that the ex-parte opinion is unsustainable in law.

“Although there is a question as to whether Sorojoni Sarkar, wife of Brajabasi Sarkar and Sorojoni Namadas, wife of Brajabasi Namadas are one and the same person remains, but still the materials as indicated above lead in favour of a declaration that there cannot be any ex-parte opinion rendered in a Foreigners Tribunal against the mother of the petitioner Sorojoni Namadas, wife of Brajabasi Namadas of village Pam Mayanbori, Mouza Baghbor in the Barpeta district. Accordingly, all legal rights of the petitioner as a citizen of India, without taking any recourse to an ex-parte opinion of a Foreigners Tribunal against his mother, would be available to the petitioner,” the order reads.

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