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D-voter, or doubtful voter

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

D-voter, or doubtful voter:


Context:

Manindra Das- the last “foreigner” has walked out of one of the six detention centres in Assam, leaving about 170 more to be released from the other five.

  • Mahindra Das was tagged a ‘D-voter’ in 2015 and later declared a “foreigner” in a one-sided decision by a Foreigners’ Tribunal in 2019.

Who is a D-voter, or doubtful voter?

Those persons whose citizenship was doubtful or was under dispute were categorized as ‘D- Voters’ during the preparation of National Register of Citizens in Assam.

  • They have not been defined in the Citizenship Act, 1955 or the Citizenship Rules of 2003.

Who is a declared foreigner?

A declared foreigner, or DF, is a person marked by Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) for allegedly failing to prove their citizenship after the State police’s Border wing marks him or her as an illegal immigrant.

What is a Foreigners tribunal?

The Foreigner tribunals are set up under the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964.

The tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies, to determine if a person staying illegally is a “foreigner” or not.

Composition: Advocates not below the age of 35 years of age with at least 7 years of practice (or) Retired Judicial Officers from the Assam Judicial Service (or) Retired IAS of ACS Officers (not below the rank of Secretary/Addl. Secretary) having experience in quasi-judicial works.

Who can set up these tribunals?

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals (quasi-judicial bodies) to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.

  • Earlier, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.

Who can approach these tribunals?

The amended order (Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 2019) also empowers individuals to approach the Tribunals.

  • Earlier, only the State administration could move the Tribunal against a suspect.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) (IMDT) Act vs Foreigners Tribunal (Order) 1964.
  2. Burden of proof under this order.
  3. Powers to approach the tribunal and kind of cases to be decided by the tribunal.
  4. Composition of the tribunal.
  5. Tribunals vs Courts.
  6. Geographical location of Assam and other NE states.
  7. Refugee vs illegal Migrants.
  8. Fundamental Rights available for Foreigners and other constitutional provisions wrt to Foreigners.
  9. Human Rights vs Fundamental Rights.

Mains Link:

Discuss briefly the laws that are in place to tackle illegal non-citizens in the country. Why was the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 amended? Explain.

Sources: the Hindu.