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17,861 People Granted Citizenship, Supreme Court Told

Apex Court Reserves Order On 17 Petitions Challenging Validity Of Section 6A Of CA ** Collection Of Data Of Illegal Migrants Impossible: Centre

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NEW DELHI, Dec 12: The Supreme Court Tuesday reserved its order on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act (CA) related to grant of Indian citizenship to illegal immigrants in Assam.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud heard the submissions of attorney General R Venkataramani, solicitor general Tushar Mehta, senior advocates Shyam Divan, Kapil Sibal and others for four days before reserving the judgement.

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The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant, M M Sundresh, J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, reserved order on 17 petitions questioning the constitutional validity of Section 6A, which was inserted into the Citizenship Act as a special provision to deal with the citizenship of people covered under the Assam Accord.

It says those who came to Assam on or after January 1, 1966 but before March 25, 1971 from specified territories, including Bangladesh, in accordance with the Citizenship Act amended in 1985, and since then are residents of the northeastern state, must register themselves under Section 18 for acquiring Indian citizenship.

As a result, the provision fixes March 25, 1971 as the cut-off date for granting citizenship to migrants, particularly those from Bangladesh, residing in Assam.

 

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Meanwhile, the Centre informed the apex court that it is not possible to collect data of illegal migrants living in various parts of the country as entry of foreign nationals is clandestine and surreptitious.

In its affidavit filed in the top court which is examining the constitutional validity of section 6A of the Citizenship Act relating to illegal immigrants in Assam, the Centre said 17,861 people have been granted citizenship under the provision.

Answering the court’s query posed on December 7, the Centre said 32,381 people have been detected as foreigners under the orders of foreigners tribunal with reference to the period of 1966-1971.

Replying to the court’s query about the estimated inflow of illegal immigrants into India, including but not confined to Assam after March 25, 1971, the Centre said illegal immigrants enter the country without valid travel documents in a clandestine and surreptitious manner.

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“The detection, detention and deportation of such illegally staying foreign nationals are a complex ongoing process. Since entry of such foreign nationals into the country is clandestine and surreptitious, it is not possible to collect accurate data of such illegal immigrants living in various parts of the country,” the Centre said.

The government said in the past five-years from 2017 to 2022, 14,346 foreigners were deported.

Giving some figures, the Centre said 100 foreigners tribunal are presently working in Assam and as on October 31, 2023, more than 3.34 lakh cases have been disposed of and still 97,714 are pending as on October 31.

It said the number of cases pending before the Gauhati High Court, arising from the orders of the Foreigners Tribunal are 8,461 as on December 1, 2023.

The government gave details about the working of the Assam Police, fencing of borders, border patrols and other mechanisms adopted to dissuade infiltration.

On December 7, the top court directed the Centre to provide data on the number of Bangladeshi immigrants granted Indian citizenship in Assam between January 1, 1966 and March 25, 1971.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, which is hearing a batch of pleas on validity of section 6A of the Citizenship Act had asked the state government to provide the data to the Centre for filing an affidavit.

It had also asked the Centre to inform it about the steps taken to deal with illegal immigration into India, particularly the North Eastern states.

Section 6A of the Citizenship Act relates to illegal immigrants in Assam. (PTI)

 

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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