Tribunal questions NRC process

Asks how foreigners are identified
An order by a Foreigners’ Tribunal in central Assam’s Morigaon district has questioned the process of identifying foreigners and ‘D’ (or doubtful voters), who have been struck off the updated National Register of Citizens. Gautam Soren, member of Foreigners Tribunal 3 (FT3) in Morigaon, highlighted “unfair practices” in the process in his August 27 order, while dismissing a case against Amina Khatun and three others (termed opposite parties or OPs) of the district’s Madhya Kalikajari village. He observed that foreigners’ cases “at this juncture have assumed the form of an industry, as each and every person involved” with such cases has been “trying to mint money by any means”.
FT3 is one of the 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals functioning in Assam to detect and deport illegal migrants. A tribunal member is a judge or an advocate with at least 10 years of practice. Mr. Soren’s order said the case against the OPs was filed ex-parte — meaning one of the parties involved was not present or not represented — in November 2017 because of “wrong report” by the process server, usually a member of Assam Police’s Border Organisation attached to the police station concerned. The Border Organisation was set up in 1962 under Prevention of Infiltration of Pakistani (PIP) scheme.
Hung on poles
Mr Soren’s order pointed out that the pre-case notice to the OPs was reportedly hung on an electric pole though the “entire village did not have any electricity”. It also rebuked Durllav Chandra Bora, the gaonburah or headman of Kalikajari area, for signing the “wrong report” before it was even prepared, and senior lawyer Najrul Talukdar for voluntarily trying to “support the irregularities of the gaonburah and the process server”. Mr. Soren’s order observed that the gaonburah knew all the OPs but, as per norm, did not accompany process server Deepak K. Patar for serving the notice, as has been the case for “two and a half years”. The order referred to similar summons to people to appear for hearing being put up at waiting sheds, on trees or electric poles despite “this Tribunal innumerable times in various foreigners’ cases, directing all these persons” not to do so.
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