The Gauhati High Court has set aside an order of a tribunal of Assam declaring a man “foreigner” and observed that the person does not need to explain the linkage with all his relatives featured in voters lists to establish his citizenship.

The Foreigners Tribunal III of Barpeta had ordered that Mohd Haider Ali is a foreigner as he could not establish his linkage with some of his relatives whose names figure in the voters list, though he did so in the case of his parents and grandparents.

A division bench of the high court comprising Justices N Kotiswar Singh and Manish Choudhury turned down the order and declared Ali as a citizen of India, saying that non- explanation of the linkage of the petitioner with some of his relatives cannot adversely affect his citizenship status.

Ali failed to establish his linkage with some relatives whose names are there in the voters list of 1970.

However, the court said in the judgement that he was able to prove that names of his father Harmuz Ali and grandfather Nadu Miya figured in the voters list.

His grandfather’s name figured in the voters list of 1965 and 1970 and his parents’ names were mentioned in that of 1989.

Besides, Ali also submitted that he has passed the class 10 state board examination in 2002 from Kawaimari Anchalik High School, Kawaimari.

In an order on January 30, 2019, the Foreigners Tribunal declared Ali an illegal migrant and a foreigner. Ali then filed a petition in the high court challenging the order.

The high court’s verdict was passed on March 30 but it was made public on Monday.

Foreigners’ Tribunals, which are unique to Assam, are quasi-judicial bodies mandated to determine whether a person living illegally in the state is a foreigner or not. PTI