Once declared Indian citizen, a person cannot be declared a foreigner later, rules Gauhati High Court

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The court was dealing with a batch of writ petitions concerning the question of the applicability of the principle of res judicata in the proceeding before Foreigners Tribunal

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Once an individual has been deemed a citizen of India by a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT), that individual cannot be declared a non-Indian if they are subsequently brought before the tribunal a second time, a Gauhati high court bench has opined, according to LiveLaw.

A Bench of Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Nani Tagia has asserted that if a person has been declared to be an Indian citizen in earlier proceedings, then, in any subsequent proceedings he/she cannot be declared to be a foreigner, as the principle of res judicata applies in such cases.

Res judicata is a principle of law that states that once a final decision has been given by a competent court on a matter between the same parties, the same shall be binding, and same parties and the same issues, cannot be put to litigation again.

The court was dealing with a batch of writ petitions concerning the question of the applicability of the principle of res judicata in the proceeding before Foreigners Tribunal.

Why did the Bench come to this conclusion?

The Bench said the High Court’s decision in the case of Amina Khatoon Vs. Union of India, (2018), that had held that res judicata is not applicable in the proceeding before the Foreigners Tribunal, is not good law in view of the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Abdul Kuddus, according to LiveLaw.

In the Abdul Kuddus case, it was held by the Supreme Court that if there had been an order by the Foreigners Tribunal in favor of a person determining the citizenship, the said decision will be binding on subsequent proceedings against the same person and there cannot be another proceeding to re-determine the citizenship of the person, by applying the principle of res judicata.

With input from agencies

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