Supreme Court admits petition on Assam citizenship row


The Supreme Court (SC) has admitted a petition to consider whether a person who is once declared to be a citizen or illegal migrant by a Foreigners Tribunal in Assam has to prove citizenship every time the state has doubts. The question hits the core of a person's right not to be tried twice for the same offence, known in common parlance as double jeopardy. Issuing notice on a petition filed by Swapan Dutta, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi has sought the response from Assam and Centre on this issue. On one hand is the right of the suspected illegal migrant against double jeopardy and on the other hand is the state's power to curb illegal migration with an iron fist. Dutta's petition challenges the HC verdict. The HC in national interest said that a decision of Tribunal is merely an opinion and not judgment, hence, it will not be binding on the state/police to keep making fresh reference as and when a doubt arises over a person's citizenship.