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'Doubtful voter': Guwahati High Court upholds citizenship status of petitioner, sets aside previous order

Rohingya Refugees
Image used for representational purposes only.
Date : 16/07/2018

Case title: Sri Ananda Chandra Paul Vs. The Union of IndiaPIL No. 5723/2013; Gauhati High Court

The learned Foreigners’ Tribunal, Barpeta, had held that the petitioner could not produce any document to prove his citizenship and thereby held that he could not prove that he had come to India prior to 01-01-1966. The Judgment of the Foreigners’ Tribunal had come out way back in 1989.

But the petitioner’s father, late Kanai Lal Paul, had been granted Indian citizenship by a certificate of registration issued in January 1970. Similarly, the mother of the petitioner was also granted citizenship by a certificate of registration issued in December 1969. Both the father and mother of the petitioner had been granted the citizenship under Section 5(1)(a)/(d) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

At the time of issue of these certificates, the petitioner was a minor aged ten years, having been born in the year 1959. The judgment on 1989 was not clear and the petitioner had presumed that his citizenship had been established in the light of the documents he had submitted. It was only in 2013 that he learned that he was marked as a ‘doubtful voter’.

As proof of his birth, the petitioner had presented his High School Leaving Certificate Examination Admit Card from 1979 which stated his age as 19 years and 11 months. No birth certificate of the petitioner was available as the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, was enacted much later.

A writ petition was filed in the High Court to set aside the impugned order of 1989, on the contention that the petitioner was a citizenship by virtue of Section 5(1)(d) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

It was also stated that in the alternative, even if the Foreigners’ Tribunal had held the petitioner to have come to India from Bangladesh during the period between 01-01-1966 and 24-03-1971, he should be allowed to register himself before the concerned registering authority under section 6A of the Citizenship Act.

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