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Essence: The article talks about need for reforms in the Foreign Tribunals. Hasina Bhanu Case is a case in point in which Assam’s foreign tribunal accepted her as an Indian Citizen (2016). But, in 2017, the Tribunal had come up with a contrary opinion that she was a foreigner. It was finally the Guwahati High Court, basing its judgement on the principle of res judicate set aside the proceeding as illegal.
In 2018, Guwahati High Court in one of its judgements laid down that foreign tribunals issue only ‘opinion’ and not judgement. The article finds this aspect a little problematic. The foreign tribunals dwell on one of the most important issue- the citizenship status of individuals. Citizenship has often been described as the “right to have rights”: Not only because many of the Constitution’s guarantees are available only to citizens, but also because — under the Foreigners’ Act — non-citizenship exposes an individual to various forms of punitive State action, such as detention or deportation. Excessive executive control over appointments and conditions of service, as well as skewed procedures, have created a situation in which tribunals are incentivised to declare individuals as foreigners. The recent judgement of Guwahati High Court is a valuable one but the entire tribunal system needs review and reform for the sake of Constitutional Justice.
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