Determination of citizenship in FTs
GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court recently observed that if there has been a past order by a Foreigners Tribunal (FT) declaring a person to be an Indian citizen, then that decision will be binding on subsequent proceedings against the same person and there cannot be another proceeding to re-determine the citizenship of that person.
The High Court's observation came while disposing of a petition filed by one Md. Maynul @ Moinul Hoque @ Md. Moinul, son of late Faizuddin, resident of Jorgarh village under Tezpur Police Station in Sonitpur district.
Hoque was declared as an Indian citizen by the Foreigners Tribunal No.1, Tezpur while disposing of a case (No.8312/2012) on August 31, 2017. However, the same FT declared Hoque to be a foreigner of the post-1971 stream while disposing of a subsequent case (No.3512/2012), vide an ex-parte order on December 31, 2020.
Setting aside the later order of the FT, the High Court cited an earlier Supreme Court decision in 'Abdul Kuddus vs Union of India' (2019) case to the effect that by applying the principle of res judicata, if there has been an order by a Foreigners Tribunal in favour of a person endorsing his Indian citizenship, then the said decision will be binding on subsequent proceedings against the same person and there cannot be another proceeding to re-determine the citizenship of the person.
The High Court directed the FT to proceed against Hoque only if it is proven that he is not the same person who was involved in the earlier FT case of August, 2012.