Gauhati HC Imposes ₹10k Cost On Electoral Registration Officer For Referring Retired Army Officer To Foreigners Tribunal
The Gauhati High Court has imposed a cost of Rs 10000 on the Electoral Registration Officer for referring a retired Indian army officer to the Foreigners Tribunal.
The Court also set aside the Order passed by the Foreigners Tribunal declaring the army man of Assam as an illegal migrant.
“…we are of the view that it was an absolute non-application of mind on the part of the ERO of 52 Dispur Legislative Assembly Constituency to have referred the petitioner to the Foreigners Tribunal for an opinion as to whether the petitioner Jagat Bahadur Chetri is a foreigner who entered the State of Assam subsequent to 25.03.1971 from the specified territory.”, the bench of Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua and Justice Robin Phukan noted.
In this case, the retired army officer was referred by the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) of 52 Dispur Legislative Assembly Constituency for an adjudication as to whether he is a citizen of India, in other words, whether he is a person who entered the State of Assam, subsequent to March 25, 1971 from the specified territory.
The order of reference itself provides that the ERO had got the matter verified by on-the-spot local verification on the question as to whether the army man had entered the State of Assam subsequent to March 25 1971.
Advocate D Ghosh appeared for the petitioner whereas CGC PK Medhi appeared for Union of India. Advocate G Sarma appeared for the State.
The Court observed that the enquiring officer had not done its duty in the proper earnest.
“Considering the manner in which the reference had been made against the petitioner for an opinion as to whether the petitioner had entered the State of Assam subsequent to 25.03.1971, more so, upon having the materials before it that the petitioner was born in the year 1937 in Dibrugarh, we are of the view that the reference itself is not maintainable in law.,”, the Court held.
Accordingly, the reference made against the petitioner-army man was set aside and as a consequence the opinion passed by the Foreigner’s Tribunal was also set aside.
“…the petitioner shall be entitled to all the rights and privileges as a citizen of India as may be admissible under the law.”, the Court held.
Cause Title- Jagat Chetri @ Jagat Bahadur Chetri v. Union of India & 5 Ors.