Voter ID, PAN card, land documents not proof of citizenship, rules Gauhati High Court in two separate judgments

  • PAN card, Voters Id, land and bank documents do not constitute proof of citizenship, the Gauhati High Court reiterated while dismissing the citizenship claims of two petitioners

  • Dismissing a writ petition filed by Jabeda Begum, the court held that documents given by the village head and PAN card are not proof of citizenship.

  • In another order on the same day, the high court dismissed the petition of Munindra Biswas, reiterating that voters ID was also not proof of citizenship

PAN card, Voters Id, land and bank documents do not constitute proof of citizenship, the Gauhati High Court reiterated while dismissing the citizenship claims of two petitioners.

Dismissing a writ petition filed by Jabeda Begum, a division bench comprising justices Manojit Bhuyan and PJ Saikia said that the documents submitted by her do not prove her linkage to her father and brother.

 Voter ID, PAN card, land documents not proof of citizenship, rules Gauhati High Court in two separate judgments

Representational image. PTI

Begum submitted 14 documents, including her PAN card, ration card, two bank passbooks, the NRC details of her father Jabed Ali, voter lists where the names of her grandparents, parents and her along with her husband were published and several land revenue receipts. She also submitted two certificates by the Gaon Bura (village head). The first said that her father Jabed Ali was a resident of the village while the second recorded her marriage to one Rebak Ali, said a report in Outlook.

She had approached the high court, challenging a order of the Foreigners' Tribunal (FT).

The Foreigners' Tribunal in Baksa district had earlier issued a notice to her on the basis of a reference made by the Superintendent of Police (Border) to prove her Indian citizenship.

She appeared before the tribunal and filed her written statement along with the 14 documents, claiming to be a citizen of India by birth. The tribunal held that village headmen are not entitled to issue certificates supporting the citizenship of a person and also rejected the bank documents as proof of her citizenship. The tribunal held that the petitioner failed to file documents linking herself with her projected parents.

Through its 12 February ruling, the Gauhati High Court upheld the tribunal's direction and said that that she could not file any documents to link herself with her projected parents.The high court had already held in another case in 2016 that PAN card and bank documents are not proofs of citizenship, the division bench observed.

Certificates issued by a 'Gaon Bura' or village headman also cannot be the proof of citizenship as such a certificate can only be used by a married woman to prove that after her marriage she had shifted to her matrimonial village, the court ruled.

The court observed that the tribunal has correctly appreciated the evidence placed before it and dismissed her petition as being devoid of merit.

In another order on the same day, the high court dismissed the petition of Munindra Biswas, which challenged the verdict of a foreigners' tribunal in Tinsukia district. The tribunal had declared him a foreigner in July 2019.

Biswas claimed that his father had migrated to Tinsukia from Nadia district of West Bengal in 1965. He submitted that he had been born in Assam and was a resident of a town in Tinsukia. He furnished a registered sales deed, another sales deed and a copy of the voter's list of 1997 which had his name. He also submitted his Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) , said the Outlook report.

According to Bar and Bench, the high court, however, dismissed his petition, saying that the tribunal was correct in refusing to rely on sales deed of land, which are private documents and hence subject to verification.  The division bench reiterated an earlier judgement of the court in which it had ruled that “electoral photo identity card is not a proof of citizenship”.

The court also observed that the Biswas had failed to prove that his name appeared in any voters list prior to 1971 and that his parents had migrated to Assam in 1965.

According to the Assam NRC, individuals had to prove that either they or their ancestors lived in Assam before 24 March, 1971, in line with the Assam Accord (1985) and Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Feb 19, 2020 22:50:42 IST


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