NRC: Gauhati High Court slams Foreigners’ Tribunal in Morigaon, questions 57 orders

The indictment of the Foreigner’s Tribunal by the Gauhati High Court comes due to inconsistencies in 57 cases; such as changing rulings, missing orders and duplicate rulings

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The indictment comes due to inconsistencies in 57 cases; such as from declaring people as Indians in note sheets and foreigners in final orders to missing orders and duplicate rulings.

Gauhati High court indicts the working of the Foreign Tribunals, which fill take a final call on NRC exclusions in Assam, while setting aside 57 orders from the Morigaon district, The Indian Express reported.

The High Court order was a result of a writ petition filed suo motu after Mousumi Deka, Member, FT No.4, Morigaon addressed an e-mail to Principal secretary to the Assam government and the state’s Home Affairs and Political Department, cc-ed to the Gauhati High Court.

This email reported 288 references that were disposed off by an earlier Member, but there were no opinions in the case records which raised suspicions. On inspection of these 288 cases the HC stated that the deputy secretary to the Assam government and its home and political department had stated that 57 cases showed anomalies.

Anomalies:
-The report found that in 32 cases, the persons were declared “foreigners” ex-parte but then declared Indians consequently without vacating the earlier order.

-In two cases, inconsistencies and discrepancies in names were detected.

-One case was left undisposed since the suspected “foreigner” had expired.

-In 11 cases, judgments were not found on record.

-In six cases, there is a mismatch between the judgment copies and order sheets. In three of these, the report said: “Proceedees are declared Indian in note sheet, but in opinion declared as foreigner.”

-In five cases, the report found dual judgments.

In a High Court order from September 19, 2019, Justice Manojit Bhuyan said: “Therefore, in all the above 57 references of the Foreigners Tribunal No.4, Morigaon, the ‘orders of disposal’ are non est in the eye of law and liable to be set aside, which is accordingly done. All the above 57 references shall now be heard afresh from the respective stages. The Member of the Tribunal shall list the above references in the Notice Board of the Tribunal giving fresh dates. Fresh notice may also be issued to the proceedees. As discussed above, the disposal order in the above manner in respect of the 57 references shall have no legal consequences and shall not be acted upon by the Superintendent of Police (Border), Morigaon as well as by the Deputy Commissioner, Morigaon. All the 57 references shall now be treated as pending references.”

Swapnaneel Deka, SP, Morigaon, had said that he had not received a copy of the order yet. The final NRC published on August 31 saw 19 lakh residents being excluded.

Aman Wadud, an advocate who has fought cases of several suspected “foreigners” at FTs and the Gauhati High Court, said to The Indian Express: “This raises serious questions on the competency of FT members. They don’t get any formal training before deciding the fate of people and their generations to come. They just get a few days of orientation. India has many brilliant judicial academies, what is stopping the government from training them there?”

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