After decades of astonishing indifference to and crimil neglect of the issue of large-scale illegal migration from Bangladesh to India (mainly to Assam), the Assam government seems to have filly woken up to the problem created not only by the illegal migration but also by the role of several of the foreigners tribuls. In the process, what has taken a strong beating is the common perception that judges can do no wrong or that they are ever infallible. The Assam government has now had occasion to express its very belated displeasure over some of the rulings of the foreigners’ tribuls (FTs) by filing writ petitions against them at the Gauhati High Court. An earlier petition had been filed in connection with 30 cases in which FTs had declared suspected foreign tiols as Indian citizens. The Political (B) Department recently initiated steps to file writ petitions in 20 more cases. The department has asked Assistant Solicitor General S. C. Keyal to prepare the draft writ petitions for these FT cases urgently and to file them before the Gauhati High Court. This move follows recommendations made by the State-level Screening Committee to the State government. Similar suggestions from the committee had earlier resulted in 30 writ petitions against rulings passed by FTs. It will be recalled that the six-member committee was constituted by the Assam government in September 2016 with the Additiol Chief Secretary, Home and Political Department as its chairman. The committee had the Special Director General of Police (Border) as its member secretary, and the Commissioner & Secretary, Home & Political Department, the Secretary, Judicial Department, the Advocate General, Gauhati High Court and the Joint Secretary, Home & Political Department as its other members.
The most significant outcome of such writ petitions against the rulings of foreigners’ tribuls is that the rulings of judges and judicial officers are beginning to be questioned—something that had not happened in India so far. It is a welcome change from an unjustified stance that judges and magistrates could do no wrong despite their being human beings and despite their being products of the same society that produced countless rogues and charlatans in addition to the expected quota of saints. This belief in the infallibility of judges apart from the imagined virtue of their being totally beyond the pale of all human temptations has led to a grossly distorted picture of their potential for corrupt practices. The true position is that people are aware of judges too being capable of corrupt practices. The two major differences are that the cost of their agreeing to deviate from the straight and rrow path of virtue is higher and their ability to camouflage their deviation from the path of virtue is far more powerful than that of lesser mortals. The large number of rulings of foreigners’ tribuls that have turned illegal migrants from Bangladesh into Indian citizens constitutes the most unfortute deviation from the truth to benefit illegal migrants and to jeopardize the very security and integrity of the country. This was the last thing expected of judges and judicial officers, but we now know that even judges are capable of perfidy against their country. We know now that not all judges are holier than our common citizens and that not all judges can be trusted to uphold the interests of the country or of the people with the same level of concern and commitment expected of the noblest of our citizens. This is a rather saddening aspect of our public life—that even judges cannot be completely trusted at all times.