The Gauhati High Court has passed an order in favour of a woman who was declared an Indian in 2013, and subsequently a foreigner in 2017 by the Foreigners’ Tribunal in proceedings initiated against her.
Justices N. Kotiswar Singh and Manish Choudhury held that the findings by the Foreigners’ Tribunal in the second proceedings in 2017 were barred by the principle of res-judicata followed by the Apex Court’s decision in Abdul Kuddus Vs Union of India.
The concept of res judicata means when a matter is finally decided on its merits by a court having competent jurisdiction, it cannot be subjected to litigation again between the same parties.
The petitioner had argued that she had been declared an Indian citizen earlier by the Foreigners’ Tribunal, but had not been accepted by the Tribunal in subsequent proceedings, as there were dissimilarities in the names of her father and husband in the two proceedings.
The court observed that the petitioner Bulbuli Bibi’s husband’s name had been Najimuddin in one reference and in the other reference, he had been referred to as Nazim. The name of village and the police station remained the same. Similarly, the name of the petitioner’s father had been recorded as late Giapuddin Fakir in the first proceeding and as Giyas Fakir in the second.
The court however noted that although the two references were made, it appeared that the persons sought to be proceeded in the two references appear to be the ‘same person’. The Bench held, “Thus it appears that the only difference or inconsistency is about the difference is the name of the husband, viz, Nazim and Najimuddin. We feel that this difference is minor and not substantial and hence can be ignored. Similarly, the name of the father of the proceeded has been recorded as late Giapuddin Fakir in the first proceeding and in the second proceeding, it has been recorded as Giyas Fakir. We are also of the opinion that these are minor variations, and as such the same can be ignored.”
Hence the court opined that as the petitioner Bulbuli Bibi had not been declared a foreigner by the Foreigners’ Tribunal in the earlier proceeding, she could be declared as an Indian citizen. The Division Bench also recorded “that her husband is an Indian Citizen and has not been declared a foreigner.”
Courtesy: Sabrang India
The order may be read here: