Despite the fact that the Registrar General of India has yet to issue a notification making Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC) a legal document, a Foreigners' Tribunal (FT) has recorded it as the "Final NRC", while declaring a man to be Indian.
Sishir Dey, a member of FT-II in Karimganj town, while hearing a case against Bikram Singha of Jamirala village, whose name appeared on the NRC list, said, "...there is no doubt that this NRC Assam published in 2019 is nothing but Final NRC.."
The FT II's"order cum opinion" comes just days after Assam's Political (B) Department asked the FTs not to pass "consequential orders/directions" and instead give an "opinion" as required by the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 on September 4. The letter to the FTs came after the State's Judicial Department evaluated the members' "opinions" in the case of people suspected of being foreigners or doubtful voters.
Singha of Jamirala village in the Patherkandi Assembly constituency of southern Assam's Karimganj district was charged by the Assam police's Border wing in May 2008. The man, who was designated as a D or "doubtful voter," went missing until June 28 and then appeared before the Foreigners' Tribunal-II (FT-II) in Karimganj town two months later, requesting time to return from Bengaluru, where he was employed.
Singha presented several documents to the FT-II to prove his Indian citizenship.
These included a 1968 land deed in his grandfather Madan Kumar Singha's name, as well as proof that his father Bharat Chandra Singha had worked for the Indian Air Force for 29 years, starting in 1972.
On September 1, FT-II member Sishir Dey heard his case. The prosecution lawyer, however, argued that Singha had no documentation proving that his family had lived in India prior to 1966.
She cited Assam's Home and Political Department's October 20, 2012, "White Paper on Foreigners' Issue," which states that anyone born between January 26, 1950, and July 1, 1987, is an Indian citizen by birth, regardless of his or her parents' nationality.
Dey, on the other hand, noted that Mr. Singha's documents indicated that his father and grandfather had lived in Jamirala village prior to 1968, despite the fact that there were no documents proving they lived in Assam prior to 1966, (year of first amendment to Citizenship Act).
Mr. Singha's name was also found in the NRC, which was overseen by the Supreme Court under the Citizenship Act of 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
"…final NRC… has been published on 31.08.2019 which is available online on the official website of NRC Assam wherein also it's referred and mentioned as 'Final NRC'. This legal position is still in force. The National Identity Cards have yet to be issued to the citizens whose names have been included in Final NRC. But there is no doubt that this NRC Assam published in 2019 is nothing but Final NRC," the order said.
"I am of the considered opinion that the Opposite Party (Singha) is not a foreigner but a citizen of India," the order said.