The Supreme Court on Thursday (December 7) directed the Union Government to furnish data on the inflow of illegal migrants to Assam and North-Eastern states after March 25, 1971.
It is to be mentioned here that, on December 5, 2023, the Supreme Court of India, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, began hearings on a series of petitions challenging Section 6A of the Citizenship Act of 1955.
This provision is significant as it implements the Assam Accord, allowing certain foreign migrants who entered Assam between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971, to apply for Indian citizenship.
The contention arises from indigenous groups in Assam who argue that this provision has legitimized the illegal migration of foreigners from Bangladesh, thus impacting the demographic and cultural fabric of the state.
Also Read: Supreme Court hearing on Citizenship Act: Government should have some autonomy for nation's interest
The Supreme Court's Constitution Bench, which also includes Justices AS Bopanna, MM Sundresh, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, is tasked with addressing the constitutional validity of Section 6A.
The bench is considering whether the section creates an unreasonable classification by treating Assam differently from other border states, potentially violating Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
Additionally, concerns have been raised about the impact on the rights and liberties of Assamese citizens under Articles 21 and 29(1), particularly in relation to the influx of illegal immigrants.
In light of these proceedings, the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to file an affidavit detailing aspects of citizenship granted to persons who entered Assam under Section 6A.
The affidavit should be on the following aspects-
1. Number of persons to whom citizenship has been granted under the provision of Section 6A with reference to the time period of persons who came into Assam between 1.1.1966-25.3.1971.
2. How many persons have been detected to be foreigners under the Foreigners Tribunals Order 1964 with reference to the above period.
3. The estimated in flow of illegal migrants to India including but not limited to Assam after 25.3.1971
4. With respect to persons who entered after 25 March 1971- The total number of foreigner tribunals set by Union, the total number of cases disposed of, number of cases pending as of date, the average time taken for disposal of cases, the number of cases pending before Guwahati HC.
5. The steps taken by union government at an administrative level to deal with illegal immigration into the territory of India from North Indian states particularly Assam. Details have to be furnished in regard to extent of border fencing and steps Union intends to take with estimated timelines to complete border fencing.
This directive aims to clarify the legal status of those individuals and the implications of their citizenship on the indigenous population of Assam.
Copyright©2024 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today