Mumbai — A Muslim couple in Mumbai arrested on charges of being illegal Bangladeshi migrants were acquitted after the Court said their citizenship is proved since they submitted all the legal documents issued by the public authority of India.
The court said since the couple posses not only Aadhaar Card, PAN card and Ration Card, but also Voter ID which is alone sufficient proof of citizenship.
According to reports, the couple identified as Abbas Lalmiya Shaikh (45) and his wife Rabiya Khatun Abbas Shaikh (40), both residents of Shanti Nagar Zopadpatti, Galli No. 03, Mankhurd, Mumbai were apprehended by the local police in March 2017.
The couple was arrested by the Police on the basis of “secret information” that some “Bangladeshi infiltrators” are residing in the area of Mumbai.
The police alleged the couple had entered the Indian soil through unauthorized route without valid documents of entry due to poverty and starvation in Bangladesh.
The court took note of the Mumbai police failing to submit any evidence in support of their charges and forcing the couple to prove their Indian citizenship.
The Police also filed charge-sheet against the couple for breach of condition, of Rule 3 punishable under Rule 6 of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, and under Para 3(1) of the Foreigners Order, 1948 punishable U/Sec. 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Esplanade Court, Mumbai took note of Abbas Shaikh filing his Aadhaar Card, PAN Card, Election Card, Passbook, Health Card and Ration Card and his wife’s Aadhaar Card, Pan Card and Election Card on February 11.
“It is pertinent to note Aadhar Card, PAN card, Election Card and Ration Card are the documents issued by the public authority and the same can be termed as a public document. They are admissible in evidence,” said Judge AH Kashikar.
Acquitting the couple of the charges levelled against them, the Judge in his verdict said: “It is necessary to note that the Aadhaar card, PAN card, driving license or ration card cannot be termed as the documents proving the citizenship of any person in a sufficient manner as said documents are not meant for the purpose of citizenship.
The birth certificate, domicile certificate, bonafide certificate, passport etc, can be relied upon to establish the origin of any person.
Even the election card can be said to be sufficient proof of citizenship as while applying for the election card or voting card, a person has to file declaration with the authority in view of form 6 of Peoples Representation Act to the authority that he is citizen of India and if the declaration is found false, he is liable for punishment. To my mind such a declaration is sufficient to prove the citizenship unless contrary is proved by the prosecution,” the verict said.
“Hence, I hold that original Election Cards of accused no. 2 and 3 are sufficient to prove their nationality as an Indian,” said the judge.