GUWAHATI: An electoral photo identity card cannot be treated in isolation as conclusive proof of citizenship in the context of the Assam Accord, the Gauhati HC has said while invoking a 2016 ruling to dismiss a petitioner’s claim to being Indian by virtue of his name being on a voters’ list.
The division bench of Justice Manojit Bhuyan and Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia made the observation in the case of Munindra Biswas, who had filed a writ petition challenging the decision of a foreigners tribunal to declare him a foreigner last July. Biswas had claimed that he was Indian by birth and a permanent resident of Margherita town of Tinsukia district. He submitted the voters’ list of 1997, which includes his name, as proof of his citizenship.
According to Biswas, his grandfather hailed from Nadia district of West Bengal and his father migrated from there to Assam in 1965 and settled in Tinsukia. The petitioner submitted to the tribunal a registered sale deed for a plot of land purchased by his father in Tinsukia in 1970, but the tribunal refused to accept that as proof of the latter being a resident of Assam.
The high court observed that since no voters’ lists prior to 1997 were submitted by the petitioner, the tribunal was right in deducing that he failed to prove his parents entered Assam prior to January 1, 1966 (the first cut-off in the accord).
“Regarding electoral photo identity card, the court in the case of Md Babul Islam versus state of Assam (2016) had held that a photo identity card is not a proof of citizenship,” the bench said.


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