Gauhati HC Raps Foreigner’s Tribunal For Yet Another Debacle

Gauhati HC Raps Foreigner’s Tribunal For Yet Another Debacle

On March 18, she was declared a foreigner by the tribunal. She was then arrested and put in a detention camp.

The Gauhati High Court (HC) on Wednesday pulled up the Foreigner's Tribunal following yet another debacle by the body in Assam. The tribunal had declared a woman to be a legal citizen back in 2016, but she was again declared a foreigner this year.

The HC has ordered her immediate release from the detention camp inside Tezpur jail where she has been lodged since October 19.

Hasina Bhanu was declared a foreigner by the tribunal in the state's Darrang district and sent to the camp.

She then approached the court saying that she was not an illegal immigrant, and contended the tribunal's earlier decision to declare her as a legal citizen in August 2016.

But the Border Police branch of Shyampur Police station, which handled her case last time, had again sent her to the same tribunal.

On March 18, she was declared a foreigner by the tribunal. She was then arrested and put in a detention camp.

Presiding over the case, Justice N Kotishwar Singh said, "We are unable to understand how the tribunal proceeded to examine the matter".

Criticizing the tribunal in strong words, he said, "We are of the opinion that in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Abdul Kuddus, the tribunal could not have proceeded with the matter and, as such, the second proceeding would be illegal".

The judge further said that it was in violation of the provisions of Article 141 of the Constitution, which said the law declared by the Supreme Court "will be binding on every Court and Tribunal".

The court observed that the tribunal was aware that the petitioner was the same person who was first declared an Indian citizen and hence, the second order cannot be sustained.

It said, "The petitioner despite being an Indian citizen had to face detention in a camp and will now be released".

Notably, there have been similar cases earlier where the Assam Border Police investigations and orders by the Foreigner's Tribunal have come under the court's scanner, with people having been declared foreigners were named as citizens of India by the courts.

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