Assam NRC: Paralysed Man Declared ‘Foreigner’ After He Couldn’t Appear Before Tribunal; SC Issues Notice to Central & State Govts
Azizul Hoque was declared a foreigner in ex-parte proceedings, despite his name being present in the draft NRC published last year.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, July 3 reportedly issued notice to the Central government as well as the government in Assam, in relation to a plea filed by a paralysed man declared “foreigner” by a tribunal and the Assam High Court.
PTI reported that Azizul Hoque, lodged in a detention centre since March 24, 2017, was declared a “foreigner” by a tribunal in ex-parte proceedings because he could not appear due to lower-limb paralysis, said the petition. Hoque is now facing deportation to Bangladesh.
Hoque’s name was included in the draft NRC as a citizen, but the tribunal and the HC declared him a foreigner citing that neither he nor his representative appeared before the tribunal.
“It is submitted that the High Court dismissed the Writ petition preferred by the Petitioner (Hoque) despite accepting the medical certificate, certifying him to be suffering from Lower limb paralysis. The name of the Petitioner along with his other family members appears in the draft NRC with ARN No…,” said Hoque’s plea before the SC, reported PTI.
It was argued before the SC that both the tribunal and the HC did not consider that Hoque had produced ‘jamabandi’ documents in name of his grandfather issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Nagaon in year 1941-42 as well as voter lists excerpts of 1965 showing the names of his grandfather, grandmother, father and mother.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said, “Issue notice. Returnable within three weeks.”
There have been several reported instances of citizens being declared “foreigners” by tribunals in the state. Recently, Kargil War veteran Mohammad Sanaullah was sent to a detention camp. After the news made national headlines, the issue was reconsidered and the Supreme Court rebuked the government in the matter.
Earlier this year, Scroll had reported that Foreigners Tribunals in Assam were “competing” with each other to declare people as “foreigners”, as this was one of the metrics in their performance evaluations.
The first draft of the NRC, published in 2018, excluded close to 40 lakh people. In June 2019, another exclusion list of around 1 lakh people was published.