Gauhati High Court.

The Gauhati High Court has rejected an Assam’s Foreigners’ Tribunal order that declared a man foreigner for failing to establish linkage with his all relatives in the pre-1971 voters’ lists.

The Foreigners’ Tribunal-III of Lower Assam’s Barpeta district on January 30, 2019 had declared 35-year-old Haidar Ali a foreigner for failing to establish his linkage with other projected relatives other than his grandfather Nadu Miya and grandmother Aymona whose names appeared in the voters’ list of 1965 and 1970.

Challenging the Foreigners’ Tribunal order, Haidar Ali had filed a writ petition before the Gauhati High Court.

On March 30, the Gauhati HC set aside the order passed by the Foreigners’ Tribunal in 2019 and declared Haidar Ali as Indian.

“The petitioner had appeared before the tribunal in support of his claim and produced a number of documents. As far as the authenticity or reliability of these documents are concerned, the same had not been questioned before the tribunal and as such, it was not proper on the part of the tribunal to dismiss these documents as not relevant for the purpose of establishing the claim of the petitioner,” the HC said in its order.

The HC observed that the documents produced by Haider Ali prove that his grandparents lived in India before 1971.

“What is important to be proved is that the parents and grandparents of the petitioner were residing during 1965 and 1970, which would rule out any allegation that they entered Assam after 01.01.1966 or after 25.03.1971. That fact was established without any doubt after the voters’ lists of 1965 and 1970 were proved, which corroborate the oral evidence of the petitioner and others,” the HC verdict said

The HC said that the voter lists of 1971 and 2010 have further established a parental connection between Haider Ali’s grandparents and his father, and his father and himself, respectively.

The high court further observed that it was not necessary for the person to show linkage with all relatives mentioned in the voters’ list.

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