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Women Declared as Foreigner by Guwahatti HC : SC Allows Review

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Case Name: Jasmin Begum @Jesminara Begum vs. Union of India and Ors. [Special Leave Petition (Civil) Diary Nos. 1564/2020]

Supreme Court of India in the present case, constituting a bench which is headed by Chief Justice of India, permitted a woman, who was declared as a foreigner, to file a review petition in the Gauhati High court against the order which upheld the order of the Tribunal. It also allowed the petitioner to approach the Supreme Court challenging the High Court Judgement, in case she falls in the review petition.

Facts of the Case:

Foreigner The petitioner was a woman named Jasmin @Jesminara Begum who was declared as a foreigner in the year 2019 by the Foreigner’s Tribunal of Morigaon. The decision given by the tribunal was based on the reason that she was unable to prove and trace back her ancestry to the Indian citizens who were residing there in Assam before March of 1971. This is the cut-off date that was set as the eligibility date for the inclusion in National Registrar of Citizens. The proceedings against her were started in 1978 on the recommendation of the Morigaon’s Superintendent of Police. 

The woman, in her defense, told the tribunal that the names of her parents, Maeda Begum as her mothers’ name, were there in the 1965 voter’s list. The tribunal did not work according to the voter’s list and held that all the eleven documents produced by the petitioner do not prove her Indian Citizenship. 

The tribunal held that woman miserably failed to establish her link with her parents and declared her as a foreigner. In consequence of the decision, the tribunal directed the District Authority to take steps to deport her to the immediate territory. 

When the petitioner challenged the decision of the tribunal to Gauhati High Court by a writ petition, the Division Bench of High Court dismissed the same. As a consequence, the petitioner filed a Special Leave Petition to the Supreme Court against the Judgement of High Court.

Arguments Advanced in the Court:

  • The petitioner contended that the judgment given by the Tribunal is full of errors that are apparent on the face of judgment. 
  • The petitioner also contended that the tribunal did not take into cognizance the evidence which shows that her father’s name was also there in the voter’s list.

Observation of the Court:

The court observed that the petitioner is a woman who was declared as a “Foreigner” by the foreigner’s tribunal. Later the judgment of the tribunal was also upheld by the High Court of Gauhati. However, the counsel appearing for the petitioner seeks permission to withdraw this petition. So that petitioners can file a review petition before the High Court.

 The decision of the Court:

The court granted the liberty to the petitioner to file for the review petition in the High Court of Guwahati. Also, the court dismissed the Special Leave Petition. It also held that “in case the petitioner fails before the High Court, she is permitted to approach this Court once again challenging the main order as well as the order passed in the review petition.”

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