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Now each and every FT is in for HC test

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 23: Both Dispur and the Gauhati High Court are worried over a section of former members of foreigners tribunals (FTs) failing to stand on their dignity and giving opinions declaring people of suspected nationalities as Indians without adequate basis. Room for doubt even in the opinions of a section of FT members does not augur well for the State.

It has already come to light with the intervention of the Gauhati High Court that the opinions of a section of former FT members in declaring a section of people of suspected nationalities as Indians are not backed by adequate documents.

The enormity of the situation has prompted the Gauhati High Court to instruct Dispur to submit 50 opinions – declaring 25 people as Indians and as many as foreigners – of each and every FT of the State to it so that it can delve deep into the problem that poses a serious threat to the State. Following the instruction from the High Court, the Home and Political Department of the State has been collecting opinions of FTs for their submission to the high court. Thus the deck is cleared for each and every FT in the State to be in for the litmus test of the High Court.
At present there are 100 FTs in the State.

Talking to The Sentinel on this crucial issue, Principal Secretary to Home and Political Department LS Changsan said: “In December 2014, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgment on FTs asking the Gauhati High Court to monitor their functioning. It’s on the strength of that order from the apex court that the Gauhati High Court has been monitoring the opinions of the FTs in Assam.”

Of late, Dispur has been convinced that some of the former FT members had given some casual opinions while declaring people of suspected nationalities as Indians. Such an unpleasant truth has led Dispur to instruct the FT members in the State not to be casual while giving their opinions on the citizenship status of people of suspected nationalities.
It is unfortunate that lapses on the part of some of the former FT members have created a situation which suggests that there must be room for doubt even on the opinions of judges (here FT members). If a section of former FT members has really given some anomalous opinions in the declaration of foreigners as Indians, no betrayal can be more injurious to Assam than this as the State had to loss over 855 precious lives during the Assam Agitation only to drive foreigners away from the State.