The Supreme Court releases migrant woman on bail after finding her relatives to be Indian Citizens. The woman was arrested by police on the directions of Foreigner’s Tribunal and the Gauhati High Court which found her to be an illegal migrant. The case was heard by the bench comprising Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who administered the state to release Sofia directly on self-bond.
This is the first ever case of its kind where the Supreme Court has ordered to release directly with a command to further perform a detailed inquiry into the matter. Usually, the Supreme Court orders remand in such cases, says an SC advocate, Anas Tanwir Siddiqui.
The Supreme Court bench that was hearing the case had demanded answers to three questions before allowing her to be released from police custody on bail.
- Is it true that five brothers of the petitioner are citizens of India?
- Is it true that the husband of the petitioner is a citizen of India?
- Is it true that the father and mother of the petitioner are citizens of India?
After Sofiya challenged her case against Foreigners’ Tribunal orders declaring her a foreigner, Barpeta Superintendent of Police conducted an inquiry only to find that her father, husband and four brothers are all Indian citizens. The police produced the Electoral Photo Identity Cards and other documents of the woman’s relative to prove their nationality. On the grounds of these evidences, Supreme Court has ordered to release Sofiya.
“From the written statement, it is evident that the petitioner did not disclose about her date or year of birth. She also did not disclose about her place of birth. Grandmother’s name, as well as names of maternal grandfather and grandmother, were not disclosed. She also did not disclose about the names of her brothers’ and sisters’ as well as the date or year of her marriage. Moreover, she was silent regarding her children after her marriage to Fulbar Hussain. Thus, there was omission to mention the above which were material facts specifically within her knowledge. It is essential that when one’s nationality is questioned, such material facts are required to be placed on record by the questioned individual at the first instance itself i.e., in the written statement. Failure to do so would be a vital omission rendering the version of the proceedee highly questionable. She repeated the same thing in her evidence-in-chief by way of affidavit wherein, however, she disclosed her age as 49 years as on 25.07.2016 when the affidavit was sworn. This would mean that petitioner was born sometime in the year 1969.” After hearing Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde, the Supreme Court perceived this and registered it as being significant.
Foreigners’ Tribunal and the Gauhati High Court had declared Sofiya a ‘migrant’ on very very technical grounds and she was prisoned for the last two years. When we met the 50-year-old Sofiya regarding the case, she was going through mental trauma. She was arrested in December 2016 and on August 20, 2018, the order was passed in the Supreme Court,” said an SC advocate, Anas Tanwir.