Guwahati: A Foreigners’ Tribunal’s flip flop on a woman in Assam — first declaring her an Indian and less than five years later a foreigner — has irked the Gauhati High Court, which ordered her release from the detention camp and pulled up the tribunal.
Hasina Bhanu was lodged in the Tezpur detention camp inside the Tezpur jail since October 19, after being declared a foreigner by the tribunal in Darrang district.
She then went to court, contending that in August 2016, the same tribunal had said that she was not a foreigner or an illegal migrant.
But the Border Police branch of Shyampur Police station, which handled her case last time, had again sent her to the same tribunal.
On March 18, the tribunal declared her as Foreigner. She was arrested and put in a detention camp.
In its order, the court made strong remarks about the tribunal’s order. Citing a precedent in the Supreme Court, Justice N Kotishwar Singh said, “We are unable to understand how the tribunal proceeded to examine the matter”.
“We are of the opinion that in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Abduk Kuddus, the tribunal could not have proceeded with the matter and, as such, the second proceeding would be illegal”.
The judge said it would violate the provisions of Article 141 of the Constitution, which says the law declared by the Supreme Court “will be binding on every Court and Tribunal”.
The tribunal was aware that the petitioner is the same person who was first declared an Indian, and so the second order cannot be sustained, the court further said.
“The petitioner despite being an Indian citizen had to face detention in a camp and will now be released,” the court said.
There have been cases earlier where the Assam Border Police investigations and orders by the Foreigners’ Tribunal’s orders have come under courts’ scanner and people declared foreigners were named as Indian citizens by the courts.