assam: Foreigner cast his vote in Assam for 20 years, detected during high court case | India News

GUWAHATI: The Gauhati HC has directed an Assam resident who retained his voting rights for more than 20 years since being declared an illegal immigrant to register with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office within 60 days.
Jagat Ghosh’s anomalous status as a voter came under the scanner when the high court was hearing a petition filed by him, challenging the May 1999 verdict of a foreigners tribunal against him.
According to the tribunal’s order, the resident of Lanka in central Assam’s Nagaon district had entered the state from Bangladesh between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971, the citizenship cut-off for immigrants and their progeny. On May 3, 1999, the tribunal passed an ex-parte order against Ghosh for failing to appear in person or submit documents to prove that he entered Assam prior to January 1, 1966. He was asked to register as a foreigner with the SP (border) of Nagaon.
Ghosh approached HC court last year, claiming that he came to know about tribunal’s order in 2018, over a decade after it was issued. He said there was no question of registering as a foreigner with the appropriate authority as he didn’t know of the verdict against him. “From the documents annexed by the petitioner, it appears that the petitioner had been casting his vote…continuously from 1970 till date, thus virtually enjoying all the rights and privileges of being a citizen of this country,” the HC said.
As per Citizenship Act, 1955, people who entered Assam between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971, and have been declared “foreigners” are supposed to register with the designated authority within 60 days. Their names, if included in electoral rolls, need to be removed for 10 years, although they will continue to enjoy other rights accorded to citizens. After 10 years, they can be declared Indian citizens based on proof, paving the way for re-inclusion in the voters’ list.

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