Voter ID is not Conclusive Proof of Citizenship, neither PAN and Bank Documents: Gauhati HC

Gauhati HC concluded a verdict where it reaffirms that Voter ID is not Conclusive Proof of Citizenship, neither PAN and Bank Documents.

CIOL Bureau
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Voter ID is not Conclusive Proof of Citizenship

The Gauhati high court said while invoking a 2016 ruling to dismiss a petitioner’s claim of being an Indian as his name was on voters’ list. The Gauhati HC reaffirmed that Voter ID cant be conclusive proof of a person’s citizenship. The court’s observation was in the context of assessing who is a foreigner as per the terms of the Assam Accord.


Hearing a writ petition by Munindra Biswas, which challenged the verdict of a foreigners’ tribunal in Tinsukia district of upper Assam, the division bench of Justice Manojit Bhuyan and Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia reiterated an earlier judgment of the court. In Md. Babul Islam versus State of Assam (No. 3547), the court had ruled that “electoral photo identity card is not a proof of citizenship”.

Biswas, who was declared a foreigner by the tribunal in July 2019. Biswas submitted documents to the court, declaring that his grandfather Durga Charan Biswas belonged to Nadia district of West Bengal migrated Tinsukia district of Assam in 1965.

According to Biswas, he was born in Assam, is a resident of Margherita town of Tinsukia district and submitted proof of his name in the 1997 voters’ list. He also attached land documents from 1970.


But the HC concluded that since no voter list prior to 1997 was submitted, thus he failed to prove that his parents entered Assam before January 1, 1966, and he was living in the state prior to March 24, 1971.

As per Clause 6A of the Citizenship Act, an outcome of the Assam Accord, the base year for citizenship exclusive to Assam is January 1, 1966. Those who settled in the state between January 1, 1966, and March 24, 1971, are to lose their right to vote for a period of ten years and on completion of that period would be regularised.

The High court also ordered that “Sale deeds are private documents, therefore they must be proved in accordance with the law. In the case of Narada Devi Gupta Vs Birendra Kumar Jaiswal reported in 2013, the Supreme Court has reiterated the legal position that marking of documents as exhibits and their proof are two different legal concepts. Mere production and marking of a document as exhibits cannot be held to be due proof of its contents. Its execution has to be proved by admissible evidence, i,e, by the evidence of those persons who can vouch for the truth of the facts in issue.”

The National Register of Citizens (NRC), 1951, was recently updated in the state as per the exclusive cut-off date of March 24, 1971, decided in the Accord. Among the 14 documents to be chosen from by the NRC applicants to claim that they settled in Assam prior to 1971, though the electoral rolls till that date were included as valid documents, the voter ID card was not in the list.

The foreigners’ tribunals rule on the cases taking into cognisance Clause 6A of the Act besides the Foreigners’ Act and the Citizenship Rules, 2009.