In a significant order, the Supreme Court has granted bail to a woman from Lower Assam’s Barpeta district, who was earlier declared foreigner by a foreigners tribunal (FT) and Gauhati High Court.
50-year-old Sofiya Khatun has been lodged at Kokrajhar detention camp since 2016. Barpeta Foreigners’ Tribunal and Gauhati HC declared her a foreigner after she could not prove a link to her father, Hasan Munshi, due to a mismatch in the spelling of his name in various voters’ lists, Indian Express reported.
A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Wednesday passed the direction after an inquiry report, submitted to the top court by the Barpeta district superintendent of police, said the five persons who Sofiya Khatun claimed to be her biological brothers and her husband were citizens of India, The Telegraph in a report said.
“In response to the queries of the court, an affidavit has been filed by the deputy secretary, general administration department, government of Assam, annexing a report of the inquiry conducted by the superintendent of police, Barpeta, Assam…” the top court said.
It said the inquiry, made on basis of documents on record, found that Nurul Haque, Matiur Rahman, Sirajul Haque, Monir Uddin and Osman Gonee, projected as the biological brothers of the “alleged foreigner/petitioner”, and Fuljar Husain, projected as her husband, were Indian citizens. “These persons have filed affidavits in the present proceedings,” the court added.
The HC and the tribunal held that she was not able to give her correct place and date of birth, which are vital to prove citizenships. But Khatun’s parents, brothers and her husband are all Indian citizens. Coming out in her defence, they filed affidavits in SC. On August 20, SC asked the Assam government to file a report by September 5, explaining how she could be a “foreigner” if her parents, five brothers and husband were all Indian citizens.