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Once declared Indian, person cannot be tried for being foreigner again: Gauhati HC

The Gauhati High Court has dominated that the precept of “res judicata” was relevant to Assam’s Foreigners Tribunals. Res judicata bars reopening of the identical difficulty by the identical events as soon as a ruling has been made.

In a judgment from final week, a two-member bench of the court docket, citing the precept, stated that when an individual has been declared Indian within the Foreigners Tribunals, they can’t be delivered to the tribunal a second time, and declared a foreigner.

This is critical as a result of until now there have been a number of cases of an individual being tried for his or her nationality on the tribunals after being already declared an Indian citizen.

The court docket, whereas listening to a set of petitions by such folks, invoked a May 2019 order by the Supreme Court (Abdul Kuddus Vs Union of India) to reach at its judgment. Simultaneously, it cleared the air on a 2018 Gauhati High Court order (Amina Khatoon Vs State of Assam) which had adjudicated that the precept of res judicata didn’t apply to the foreigners’ tribunals since they have been solely quasi-judicial our bodies and never full-fledged courts. The Gauhati High Court, in its newest order, nevertheless, discovered the 2018 judgment to be “no more a good law” and “as such, cannot be relied upon anymore.”

The court docket stated, “In the present proceeding, the tribunal has to first determine whether the petitioner is the same person who was proceeded in the earlier proceeding. Thus, the scope of examination is confined only to the issue of whether the petitioner is the same person who had proceeded earlier or not.” Once the individual’s identification was established to be the identical, it was not required for the tribunals to deliberate on the proof once more, the court docket stated.

Last yr, in December 2021, the Gauhati High Court had put aside an order handed by a Foreigners’ Tribunal declaring a resident of Darrang district as a foreigner after noting that the identical tribunal had earlier declared her to be an Indian citizen. It had cited the precept of res judicata then too.

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