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‘Foreigners’ Tribunals must be judicial bodies’

Students’ union feels it will check bias

At a time when the Centre has sanctioned the creation of more Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs), a minority organisation in Assam has demanded that such tribunals be made judicial set-ups for “fairer and non-controversial” judgments.

The FTs, unique to Assam, are quasi-judicial establishments that decide who is a foreigner and who is not on the basis of cases prepared by Assam Police’s border wing tasked with detecting illegal immigrants.

Each FT is headed by a member who can be a retired judicial officer, bureaucrat or lawyer with minimum seven years of legal practice.

“The FTs should no longer be quasi-judicial in order to minimise bias, and increase transparency and trustworthiness. They should be headed by full-fledged judges and the government should form an appellate authority to challenge the judgments of judicial FTs if a party is not satisfied,” said Rejaul Karim Sarkar, president of the All Assam Minority Students’ Union, on Saturday.

Its adviser, Azizur Rahman, said the government should also come up with a uniform procedure code across the country to handle cases at the FTs on the lines of the Civil Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure Code “so that people are not deprived of justice”.

“Such steps are necessary given the sensitivity of the issue of foreigners and illegal migrants so that people who are at the receiving end do not feel deprived of justice,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 27, 2020 8:46:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/foreigners-tribunals-must-be-judicial-bodies/article27951624.ece

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