Gauhati High Court says election photo ID is not proof of Indian citizenship
As the nationwide citizenship debate continues across the country with ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the National Population Register (NPR), the National Register of Citizens ( NRC), the Gauhati High Court ruled that a photo voter ID card is not conclusive proof of Indian citizenship.
Citizenship must be proven by admissible evidence, the court said.
The bench of division of the High Court of Gauhati, composed of Judge Manojit Bhuyan and Judge Parthivjyoti Saikia, recently delivered its judgment during the hearing of a written request filed by a certain Md. Babul Islam of Margherita in the district of Tinsukia in Assam.
Md. Babul Islam filed a lawsuit against an order of the Foreigners’ Court, where he was declared a foreigner in the post-1971 sector.
The court rendered the judgment with reference to an earlier order.
The Supreme Court reiterated the legal position that marking documents as exhibits and their evidence are two different legal concepts. Mere production and marking of a document as exhibits cannot be considered sufficient proof of its content. Its execution must be proved by admissible evidence, that is to say by the evidence of those persons who can vouch for the veracity of the facts in question. The card is not proof of citizenship. The applicant no ‘did not submit electoral lists before 1997, therefore the applicant has not proved that he had stayed in Assam before 25.03.1971 â, declared the judgment.
Clause 5 of the Assam Accord deals with foreigners and foreigners have been classified under three headings for identification and differential treatment under the Assam Accord.
According to the Assam Accord, all persons who arrived in Assam before January 1, 1966, including those whose names appeared on the electoral rolls used in the 1967 elections, must be regularized.
On the other hand, foreigners who came to Assam after January 1, 1966 (inclusive) and up to March 24, 1971 will be detected in accordance with the provisions of the Aliens Act of 1946 and the Aliens Ordinance (Courts ) of 1964 and would be deprived of the right to vote for 10 years that they would obtain the right to vote only at the expiration of a period of 10 years from the date of their detection or of their declaration as than abroad.
Those who entered Assam on or after March 25, 1971 will continue to be detected, suppressed and expelled.
Senior Gauhati High Court attorney Bijan Mahajan said: âIn a 2016 case, the court ruled that the election photo ID card is not proof of citizenship. February 12, in another Munindra Biswas v Union of India authority, the Gauhati High Court also declared that the election photo ID card is not proof of citizenship. “
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