IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 562 OF 2012
Assam           Sanmilita            Mahasangha            &            Ors.
Union of India & Ors.                                    ...Respondents
                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 274 OF 2009
Assam                              Public                              Works
Union of India & Ors.                                    ...Respondents
                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 876 OF 2014
All Assam Ahom Association & Ors.
Union              of               India               &               Ors.
                               J U D G M E N T
R.F. Nariman, J.
1.    A Prophet is without honour in his own country.  Substitute  'citizen'
for 'prophet' and you will get the gist of the various writ petitions  filed
under Article 32 of the Constitution of India assailing Section  6A  of  the
Citizenship Act.
2.    It all began when the Burmese ceded  Assam  to  the  British  on  24th
February, 1826 as per the treaty of Yandabo, thus bringing to  an  end  Ahom
rule in Assam which had begun sometime in the  13th  century.   The  British
annexed Assam and  placed  it  as  an  administrative  unit  of  the  Bengal
Province. As early as 1931, C.S. Mullan, the Census  Superintendent  in  his
census report stated:
"Probably the most important event in the province during the last 25 years-
 an event, moreover, which seems  likely  to  alter  permanently  the  whole
feature of Assam and to destroy the whole structure of Assamese culture  and
civilization  has  been  the  invasion  of  a  vast  horde  of   land-hungry
immigrants  mostly  Muslims,  from  the  districts  of  East   Bengal.   ...
wheresoever the  carcass,  there  the  vultures  will  gathered  together  "
(Politics of Migration by  Dr.  Manju  Singh,  Anita  Publications,  Jaipur,
1990, Page 59)
3.    In 1935, when the Government of India Act was promulgated, Assam  was,
under Section 46(1), stated to be a Governor's province.   It  was  in  this
scenario that the Foreigners Act of 1946 was enacted under which the  burden
of proving whether a person is or is not a foreigner lies upon such  person.
 At the commencement of the Constitution of India,  Article  5  stated  that
every person who has his domicile in the territory  of  India  and  who  was
either born in the territory of India; or either of whose parents were  born
in the territory of India; or  who  has  been  ordinarily  resident  in  the
territory of India for not less than  5  years  immediately  preceding  such
commencement shall be a citizen of India.    As  an  exception,  Article  6,
which is important for the determination of some of  the  questions  arising
in these writ petitions, states as follows:
           "Rights of citizenship of certain persons who  have  migrated  to
India from Pakistan. --Notwithstanding anything in Article 5, a  person  who
has migrated to the territory of India from the territory  now  included  in
Pakistan shall be deemed to be a citizen of India  at  the  commencement  of
this Constitution if
(a) he or either of his parents or any of  his  grand-parents  was  born  in
India as defined in  the  Government  of  India  Act,  1935  (as  originally
enacted); and
(b)(i) in the case where such person has so migrated before  the  nineteenth
day of July, 1948 , he has been ordinarily  resident  in  the  territory  of
India since the date of his migration, or
(ii) in the case  where  such  person  has  so  migrated  on  or  after  the
nineteenth day of July, 1948 , he has been registered as a citizen of  India
by an officer appointed in that behalf by the Government of the Dominion  of
India on an application made by him therefor  to  such  officer  before  the
commencement of this Constitution in the form and manner prescribed by  that
Government: Provided that no person shall be so  registered  unless  he  has
been resident in the territory of India or at least six  months  immediately
preceding the date of his application."
4.    19th July, 1948, therefore, became the baseline for  such  persons  as
were referred to in Article 6 for being citizens of India.
5.    At this stage, the Immigrants (Expulsion from  Assam)  Act,  1950  was
enacted to protect the indigenous inhabitants of Assam.   The  statement  of
objects and reasons of this Act says
"during the last  few  months  a  serious  situation  had  arisen  from  the
immigration of a very large number of  East  Bengal  residents  into  Assam.
Such large migration is disturbing the  economy  of  the  province,  besides
giving rise to a serious law and order problem.  The bill  seeks  to  confer
necessary powers on the Central Government to deal with the situation."
6.    In pursuance of this object, Sections 2 and 4 of this Act  which  also
have a bearing on some of the issues raised  in  these  petitions  state  as
"2. Power to order expulsion of certain immigrants.-
If the Central Government  is  of  opinion  that  any  person  or  class  of
persons, having been ordinarily resident in any place outside India, has  or
have, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, come into  Assam
and that  the  stay  of  such  person  or  class  of  persons  in  Assam  is
detrimental to the interests of the  general  public  of  India  or  of  any
section thereof or of any Scheduled Tribe in Assam, the  Central  Government
may by order--
(a) direct such person or class of persons to remove himself  or  themselves
from India or Assam within such time and by such route as may  be  specified
in the order; and
(b) give such further directions in regard to  his  or  their  removal  from
India or Assam as it may consider necessary or expedient;
Provided that nothing in this section shall  apply  to  any  person  who  on
account of civil disturbances or the fear of such disturbances in  any  area
now forming part of Pakistan has been displaced from or has left  his  place
of residence in such area and who has been subsequently residing in Assam.
4. Power to give effect orders, etc.-
Any authority empowered by or in pursuance of the provisions of this Act  to
exercise any power may, in addition to any other action  expressly  provided
for in this Act, take or cause to be taken such steps, and use or  cause  to
be used such force, as may in its opinion be reasonably  necessary  for  the
effective exercise of such power."
7.    It was during the census of 1951 that a National Register of  Citizens
was prepared under a directive of the Ministry of  Home  Affairs  containing
information village-wise  of  each  and  every  person  enumerated  therein.
Details such as the number and names of  persons,  the  houses  or  holdings
belonging to them, father's name or husband's name,  nationality,  age,  the
means of livelihood were all indicated therein.
8.    Between 1948 and 1971, there were large  scale  migrations  from  East
Pakistan to Assam.  As is well known, West  Pakistan  commenced  hostilities
against East Pakistan on 25th March,  1971  culminating  in  the  war  which
dismembered  the  two  parts  of  Pakistan  and  in  which  a  new   nation,
Bangladesh, was born.  It is interesting to note that immediately after  the
successful culmination of the war in Bangladesh,  on  19th  March,  1972,  a
treaty for friendship, co-operation and peace was signed between  India  and
Bangladesh.  Article 8 of the said treaty is in the following terms:
"In accordance  with  the  ties  of  friendship  existing  between  the  two
countries each of the High Contracting Parties  solemnly  declares  that  it
shall not enter into  or  participate  in  any  military  alliance  directed
against the other party. Each of the High Contracting Parties shall  refrain
from any aggression against the other party and shall not allow the  use  of
its territory for committing any act that may cause military  damage  to  or
constitute a threat to the security of the other High Contracting Party"
9.    Given the continuing influx of illegal migrants from  Bangladesh  into
Assam, the All Assam Students Union first  submitted  a  memorandum  to  the
then Prime Minister of India (in 1980)  inviting  her  urgent  attention  to
this issue.  As a result of such  representations,  Parliament  enacted  the
Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983.  This Act  was  made
applicable only to Assam and was expected to be a measure which  speeded  up
the determination of illegal migrants in the State of Assam with a  view  to
their deportation.
10.   Not being satisfied with this parliamentary measure, and  in  view  of
large scale agitations in the State of Assam, an accord was signed known  as
the "Assam Accord" on 15th August, 1985 between  the  AASU,  AAGSP  and  the
Central and  the  State  Governments.   This  Accord  is  worth  quoting  in
                                "ASSAM ACCORD
                              15th August, 1985
(Accord between AASU, AAGSP, Central and State Government on  the  Foreigner
Problem Issue)
                          MEMORANDUM OF SETTLEMENT
1.   Government have all along been most  anxious  to  find  a  satisfactory
solution to the problem of Foreigners in  Assam.  The  All  Assam  Students'
Union (AASU) and the All Assam  Gana  Sangram  Parishad  (AAGSP)  have  also
expressed their Keenness to find such a solution.
2. The AASU through their Memorandum dated 2nd February, 1980  presented  to
the Late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi, conveyed  their  profound  sense
of apprehensions regarding the continuing influx of foreign  nationals  into
Assam and the  fear  about  adverse  affects  upon  the  political,  social,
cultural and economic life of the State.
3. Being fully alive to the genuine apprehensions of the  people  of  Assam,
the  then  Prime  Minister  initiated  the  dialogue  with  the  AASU/AAGSP.
Subsequently, talks were held at the Prime  Minister's  and  Home  Ministers
levels during the period 1980-83. Several  rounds  of  informal  talks  were
held during 1984. Formal discussions were resumed in March, 1985.
4. Keeping all aspects of the problem  including  constitutional  and  legal
provision, international agreements, national commitments  and  humanitarian
considerations, it has been decided to proceed as follows :-
Foreigners Issue:
1. For purpose of detection and deletion of foreigners,  1-1-1966  shall  be
the base date and year.
2. All persons who came to Assam prior to 1-1-1966, including those  amongst
them whose names appeared on the electoral rolls  used  in  1967  elections,
shall be regularized.
3. Foreigners who came to Assam after 1-1-1966  (inclusive)  and  upto  24th
March, 1971 shall be detected in  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  the
Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1939.
4. Names of foreigners so detected will be deleted from the electoral  rolls
in force. Such persons will be required to register  themselves  before  the
Registration Officers of the respective districts  in  accordance  with  the
provisions of the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and the  Registration
of Foreigners Rules, 1939.
5.  For  this  purpose,  Government  of  India   will   undertake   suitable
strengthening of the governmental machinery.
6. On the expiry of the period of ten year following the date of  detection,
the names of all such persons which have been  deleted  from  the  electoral
rolls shall be restored.
7. All  persons  who  were  expelled  earlier,  but  have  since  re-entered
illegally into Assam, shall be expelled.
8. Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25,  1971  shall  continue
to be detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with the  law.  Immediate
and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.
9. The Government  will  give  due  consideration  to  certain  difficulties
express by the  AASU/AAGSP  regarding  the  implementation  of  the  Illegal
Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983.
Safeguards and Economic Development:
6. Constitutional, legislative and  administrative  safeguards,  as  may  be
appropriate,  shall  be  provided  to  protect,  preserve  and  promote  the
cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
7. The Government takes this opportunity to renew their commitment  for  the
speedy all round economic  development  of  Assam,  so  as  to  improve  the
standard of living of the people. Special emphasis will  be  placed  on  the
education  and  Science  &  Technology  through  establishment  of  national
Other Issues:
1. The Government will arrange for the issue of citizenship  certificate  in
future only by the authorities of the Central Government.
2. Specific complaints that may be made by the  AASU/AAGSP  about  irregular
issuance of Indian Citizenship Certificates (ICC) will be looked into.
1.  The  international  border  shall  be   made   secure   against   future
infiltration by  erection  of  physical  barriers  like  walls  barbed  wire
fencing and other obstacles at appropriate places.  Patrolling  by  security
forces on land and riverine routes all along the international border  shall
be adequately intensified. In  order  to  further  strengthen  the  security
arrangements,  to  prevent  effectively  future  infiltration,  an  adequate
number of check posts shall be set up.
2. Besides the arrangements mentioned above and  keeping  in  view  security
considerations,  a  road  all  along  the  international  border  shall   be
constructed so as to facilitate patrolling by security forces. Land  between
border and the road  would  be  kept  free  of  human  habitation,  wherever
possible. Riverine  patrolling  along  the  international  border  would  be
intensified.  All  effective  measures   would   be   adopted   to   prevent
infiltrators crossing or attempting to cross the international border.
10.   It will be ensured that relevant laws for prevention  of  encroachment
of government lands and lands  in  tribal  belts  and  blocks  are  strictly
enforced and unauthorized encroachers evicted as laid down under such  laws.
11.   It will be ensured that the law restricting acquisition  of  immovable
property by foreigners in Assam is strictly enforced.
12.     It  will  be  ensured  that  Birth  and  Death  Registers  are  duly
Restoration of Normalcy:
13. The All Assam Students Unions (AASU) and  the  All  Assam  Gana  Sangram
Parishad (AAGSP) call  off  the  agitation,  assure  full  co-operation  and
dedicate themselves towards the development of the Country.
14. The Central and the State Government have agreed to:
1. Review with sympathy and withdraw  cases  of  disciplinary  action  taken
against employees in the context of the agitation and to ensure  that  there
is no victimization;
2.   Frame a scheme for ex-gratia payment to next of kin of those  who  were
killed in the course in the agitation.
3.   Give sympathetic consideration to proposal for relaxation of upper  age
limit  for  employment  in  public  service  in  Assam,  having  regard   to
exceptional situation that prevailed in  holding  academic  and  competitive
examinations etc. in the context of agitation in Assam:
4.   Undertake review of detention cases, if any, as well as  cases  against
persons charged with criminal offences in  connection  with  the  agitation,
except those charged with commission of heinous offences.
5. Consider withdrawal of the prohibitory orders/  notifications  in  force,
if any:
15. The Ministry of  Home  Affairs  will  be  the  nodal  Ministry  for  the
implementation of the above.
(P.K.     Mahanta)                                                     (R.D.
President                                                               Home
All Assam Students' Union                    Government of India
(B.K.   Phukan)                                             (Smt.   P.    P.
General Secretary                                         Chief Secretary
All Assam Students' Union                  Government of Assam
 (Biraj Sharma)
All Assam Students' Union
                                                                   In    the
Presence of
                                                             Prime  Minister
of India
Date: 15th August, 1985
Place: New Delhi"
11.   It was in pursuance of this accord that Section  6A  was  inserted  in
the Citizenship Act in 1985.  The Statement of Objects and  Reasons  of  the
Act specifically states that it is legislation required to  give  effect  to
the Assam Accord.  Section 6A states as follows:
"6A. Special provisions as to citizenship of persons covered  by  the  Assam
(1) For the purposes of this section-
(a)  "Assam"  means  the  territories  included  in  the  State   of   Assam
immediately before the commencement  of  the  Citizenship  (Amendment)  Act,
(b) "detected to be a  foreigner"  means  detected  to  be  a  foreigner  in
accordance with the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946 (31 of 1946)  and
the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 by a Tribunal constituted  under  the
said Order;
(c) "specified territory"  means  the  territories  included  in  Bangladesh
immediately before the commencement  of  the  Citizenship  (Amendment)  Act,
(d) a person shall be deemed to be of Indian origin, if  he,  or  either  of
his parents or any of his grandparents was born in undivided India;
(e) a person shall be deemed to have been detected to be a foreigner on  the
date on which  a  Tribunal  constituted  under  the  Foreigners  (Tribunals)
Order, 1964 submits its opinion to the effect that he is a foreigner to  the
officer or authority concerned.
(2) Subject to the provisions of sub-sections (6) and (7),  all  persons  of
Indian origin who came before the 1st day of January,  1966  to  Assam  from
the specified territory (including such of those whose names  were  included
in the electoral rolls used for the purposes of the General Election to  the
House of the People held in 1967) and who have been ordinarily  resident  in
Assam since the dates of their entry  into  Assam  shall  be  deemed  to  be
citizens of India as from the 1st day of January, 1966.
(3) Subject to the provisions of sub-sections (6) and (7), every  person  of
Indian origin who-
(a) came to Assam on or after the lst day of January, 1966  but  before  the
25th day of March, 1971 from the specified territory; and
(b) has, since the date of his entry into Assam,  been  ordinarily  resident
in Assam; and
(c) has been detected to be a foreigner,
shall register himself in accordance with the  rules  made  by  the  Central
Government in this behalf under section 18 with such  authority  (thereafter
in this sub-section referred to as the  registering  authority)  as  may  be
specified in such rules and if his name is included in  any  electoral  roll
for any Assembly or Parliamentary constituency in force on the date of  such
detection, his name shall be deleted therefrom.
Explanation.-In the case of every person  seeking  registration  under  this
sub-section, the opinion of the Tribunal constituted  under  the  Foreigners
(Tribunals) Order, 1964 holding such person to  be  a  foreigner,  shall  be
deemed to be sufficient proof of the requirement under clause  (c)  of  this
sub-section and if any question arises as to whether  such  person  complies
with  any  other  requirement  under  this  sub-section,   the   registering
authority shall,-
(i)  if  such  opinion  contains  a  finding  with  respect  to  such  other
requirement, decide the question in conformity with such finding;
(ii) if such opinion does not contain a finding with respect to  such  other
requirement, refer the question to a Tribunal  constituted  under  the  said
Order having jurisdiction in accordance  with  such  rules  as  the  Central
Government may make in this behalf under section 18 and decide the  question
in conformity with the opinion received on such reference.
(4) A person registered under sub-section (3) shall have, as from  the  date
on which he has been detected to be a foreigner and till  the  expiry  of  a
period of ten years from that date, the same rights  and  obligations  as  a
citizen of India (including  the  right  to  obtain  a  passport  under  the
Passports Act, 1967 (15 of 1967) and the obligations  connected  therewith),
but shall not be entitled to have his name included in  any  electoral  roll
for any Assembly or  Parliamentary  constituency  at  any  time  before  the
expiry of the said period of ten years.
(5) A person registered under sub-section  (3)  shall  be  deemed  to  be  a
citizen of India for all purposes as from the date of expiry of a period  of
ten years from the date on which he has been detected to be a foreigner.
(6) Without prejudice to the provisions of section 8,-
(a) if any person referred to in sub-section (2) submits in  the  prescribed
manner and form and to the prescribed authority within sixty days  from  the
date of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985,  for  year  a
declaration that he does not wish to be a  citizen  of  India,  such  person
shall not be deemed to have become  a  citizen  of  India  under  that  sub-
(b) If any person referred to in sub-section (3) submits in  the  prescribed
manner and form and to the prescribed authority within sixty days  from  the
date of commencement the Citizenship (Amendment)  Act,  1985,  for  year  or
from the date on which he has been detected to be a foreigner, whichever  is
later, a declaration that he does not wish to be governed by the  provisions
of that sub-section and sub-sections (4) and (5), it shall not be  necessary
for such person to register himself under sub-section (3).
Explanation.-Where a person required to file a declaration under  this  sub-
section  does  not  have  the  capacity  to  enter  into  a  contract,  such
declaration may be filed on his behalf by any  person  competent  under  the
law for the time being in force to act on his behalf.
(7) Nothing in sub-sections (2) to  (6)  shall  apply  in  relation  to  any
(a) who, immediately before the commencement of the Citizenship  (Amendment)
Act, 1985, for year is a citizen of India;
(b) who was expelled from India before the commencement of  the  Citizenship
(Amendment) Act, 1985, for year  under  the  Foreigners  Act,  1946  (31  of
(8) Save as otherwise expressly provided in this section, the provisions  of
this section shall have effect notwithstanding  anything  contained  in  any
other law for the time being in force."
12.   It will be seen that as part of the Assam Accord,  a  huge  number  of
illegal migrants were made deemed citizens of India.  It is  interesting  to
note that Parliament has not enacted any law  pertaining  to  refugees  from
other countries. Refugee status can be  granted  and  has  been  granted  in
India through executive orders passed by the  Central  Government.   In  any
case, Section 6A did not merely rest content with  granting  refugee  status
to those who were illegal migrants from East Pakistan but went on  to  grant
them the benefit of citizenship  of  India  so  that  all  persons  who  had
migrated before 1966 and all persons who migrated before  25th  March,  1971
respectively were to become citizens of India either immediately  or  as  is
mentioned by the Act after a period of  10  years  once  there  has  been  a
determination that they have in fact  settled  in  India  between  1966  and
13.   On 8th of November, 1998, Lieutenant  General  S.K.  Sinha,  the  then
Governor of Assam, submitted an extensive report to the  then  President  of
India on the grave threat posed by the influx of people from  Bangladesh  to
Assam. He said:
"The  dangerous  consequences  of  large  scale   illegal   migration   from
Bangladesh, both for the people of Assam  and  more  for  the  Nation  as  a
whole, need to be empathetically  stressed.  No  misconceived  and  mistaken
notions of secularism should be allowed to come in the way of doing so.
As a result of population movement from Bangladesh, the spectre looms  large
of the indigenous people of Assam being reduced to a minority in their  home
state. Their cultural survival will be in jeopardy, their political  control
will be  weakened and their employment opportunities will be undermined.
The silent and invidious demographic invasion of Assam  may  result  in  the
loss of the geo-strategically vital districts of lower Assam. The influx  of
illegal migrants is turning these districts into a Muslim  majority  region.
It will then only be a matter of time when a demand for  their  merger  with
Bangladesh  may  be  made.  The  rapid  growth  of   international   Islamic
fundamentalism may provide the  driving  force  for  this  demand.  In  this
context, it is pertinent that Bangladesh has long discarded  secularism  and
has chosen to become an Islamic State. Loss of lower Assam will  severe  the
entire land mass of the North East, from the rest  of  India  and  the  rich
natural resources of that region will be lost to the Nation."
14.   It was in this backdrop that a writ petition being Writ  Petition  No.
131 of 2000 was filed by Sarbananda  Sonowal  assailing  the  Constitutional
validity of "The Illegal Migrants (Determination by  Tribunals)  Act,  1983"
and the rules made thereunder.
15.   In a judgment reported in (2005) 5 SCC 665,  this  Court  referred  to
the Assam Accord and to the huge influx of illegal migrants into  the  State
of Assam and came to the conclusion that the 1983 Act  and  the  rules  made
thereunder operated in the reverse direction i.e.  instead  of  seeing  that
illegal migrants are deported, it did the opposite by placing the burden  of
proof on the State to prove that a person happens to be an illegal  migrant.
 This Court went on to hold that Article 355 of the  Constitution  had  been
violated, in as much as the Union had failed to protect the State  of  Assam
against the external aggression and internal disturbance caused by the  huge
influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh to Assam and went on to hold  the
1983 Act to be violative of Article 14 as well.  In as much as this Act  was
struck down, the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act  1950  together  with
the Foreigners Act and the Foreigners Tribunal Order of 1964 were now to  be
the tools in the hands of Government to do  the  job  of  detecting  illegal
migrants who were then to be deported.
16.   On 14th July, 2004, in response to an  unstarred  question  pertaining
to deportation of illegal Bangladeshi migrants, the Minister of State,  Home
Affairs, submitted a statement to Parliament  indicating  therein  that  the
estimated number of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants into  India  as  on  31st
December, 2001 was 1.20 crores, out of which 50 lakhs were in Assam.
17.   Given the magnitude  of  the  problem,  a  Foreigners  (Tribunals  for
Assam) Order of 2006 was promulgated  which  was  again  struck  down  being
found to be unreasonable and arbitrary and which  instead  of  expeditiously
discovering illegal migrants and deporting them, again did the opposite.  It
was in (2007) 1 SCC 174, in the  second  Sonowal  writ  petition,  that  the
Supreme Court struck down this order.
18.   In the year 2012 and in 2014 large scale riots  took  place  in  Assam
resulting in the deaths of a  large  number  of  persons.   It  is  in  this
background that the present writ petitions have been filed.
19.    A  preliminary  submission  was  urged  by  the  learned   Additional
Solicitor General of India Mr. Neeraj  Kaul  that  Section  6A  having  been
enacted in 1985, a challenge made in 2012  would  be  barred  by  delay  and
laches.  We will first advert to this preliminary  submission  in  order  to
see whether we will proceed further to determine the issues raised in  these
writ petitions.
20.   Writ Petition (Civil) No. 562 of 2012 which was taken up by  us  first
contains the following prayers:
"a) a writ in the nature of Certiorari or  any  other  appropriate  writ(s),
order(s) or direction(s) declaring Section 6A of The Citizenship  Act,  1955
as discriminatory, arbitrary and illegal and consequently striking down  the
impugned provision as ultra-vires the Constitution of India;
b) a writ in the nature  of  Mandamus  or  any  other  appropriate  writ(s),
order(s) or direction(s) directing the respondent no.1 and 3 not  to  update
the National Register of Citizens with respect to  the  State  of  Assam  by
taking into account the electoral  rolls  prior  to  March  24th  (midnight)
c) a writ in the nature  of  Mandamus  or  any  other  appropriate  writ(s),
order(s) or direction(s) directing the respondent no 1 and 3 to  update  the
National Register of Citizens with respect to the  State  of  Assam  relying
only on the details  incorporated  in  the  National  Register  of  Citizens
prepared in  1951 ;
d) a writ in the nature  of  Mandamus  or  any  other  appropriate  writ(s),
order(s) or direction(s) directing the respondents  to  treat  1951  as  the
base  year  for  the  purpose  of  detection  and  deportation  of   illegal
immigrants in the State of Assam;
e) a writ in the nature  of  Mandamus  or  any  other  appropriate  writ(s),
order(s)  or  direction(s)  directing  the  respondents  no  1  and   2   to
immediately take effective steps towards ensuring  the  deportation  of  the
illegal immigrants from the territory of India;
f) Issue Rule Nisi in terms of prayers (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) above;
g) Pass such other further or other  writ,  orders  or  directions  as  your
Lordships may deem fit and proper in the  facts  and  circumstances  of  the
instant case."
21.   Article 32 of the Constitution which has been described as the  "heart
and soul" of the Constitution guarantees  the  right  to  move  the  Supreme
Court for the enforcement of all or any of the fundamental rights  conferred
by Part III of the Constitution.   This  Article  is,  therefore,  itself  a
fundamental right and it is in this backdrop that we  need  to  address  the
preliminary submission.
22.    In  Tilokchand  Motichand  v.  H.B.  Munshi  (1969)  1  SCC  110,   a
Constitution Bench was asked to decide on  the  Constitutional  validity  of
Section 12A (4) of the  Bombay  Sales  Tax  Act.   The  precise  ground  for
challenge was a  violation  of  Article  19(1)(f)  of  the  Constitution.  A
majority of three out of five Judges held that the petition was hit  by  the
doctrine of laches and hence dismissed the petition.  In  so  holding,  each
of the Judges arrived  at  differing  reasons  as  to  why  petitions  under
Article 32 ought  to  be  dismissed  on  the  ground  of  delay/laches.   In
paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 Hidayatullah, C.J., held:
"9. In India we have the Limitation Act which prescribes  different  periods
of  limitation  for  suits,  petitions  or  applications.  There  are   also
residuary articles which  prescribe  limitation  in  those  cases  where  no
express period is provided. If it were a matter of a  suit  or  application,
either an appropriate article or the residuary article would  have  applied.
But a petition under Article 32 is not a suit and it is also not a  petition
or an application to which the Limitation Act applies. To put curbs  in  the
way of enforcement of Fundamental Rights through  legislative  action  might
well be questioned under Article 13(3). The reason is also quite  clear.  If
a short period of limitation were prescribed  the  Fundamental  Right  might
well be frustrated. Prescribing too long a period might enable stale  claims
to be made to the detriment of other rights which might emerge.
10. If then there is no period prescribed what  is  the  standard  for  this
Court to follow? I  should  say  that  utmost  expedition  is  the sine  qua
non for such claims.  The  party  aggrieved  must  move  the  Court  at  the
earliest possible time and explain satisfactorily all semblance of delay.  I
am not indicating any period which may be regarded as the ultimate limit  of
action for that would  be  taking  upon  myself  legislative  functions.  In
England a period of 6 months has been provided statutorily, but  that  could
be because there is no guaranteed remedy and the matter is one  entirely  of
discretion. In India I will  only  say  that  each  case  will  have  to  be
considered on its own facts. Where there is appearance  of  avoidable  delay
and this delay affects the merits of the claim, this Court will consider  it
and in a proper case hold the party disentitled to invoke the  extraordinary
 11. Therefore, the question is one of discretion for this Court  to  follow
from case to case. There is no lower limit and there is no  upper  limit.  A
case may be brought within Limitation Act by  reason  of  some  article  but
this Court need not necessarily give the total time to the litigant to  move
this Court under Article 32. Similarly in a suitable  case  this  Court  may
entertain such a petition even after a lapse of time. It will all depend  on
what the breach of the Fundamental Right and the  remedy  claimed  are  when
and how the delay arose."
     Justice Sikri held as follows:
"18. It seems  to  me,  however,  that  the  above  solution  is  not  quite
appropriate for petitions under Article 32. A delay of 12 years or  6  years
would make a strange bed-fellow with a direction or order  or  writ  in  the
nature of mandamus, certiorari and prohibition. Bearing in mind the  history
of these writs I cannot  believe  that  the  Constituent  Assembly  had  the
intention that five Judges of this Court should sit together  to  enforce  a
fundamental right  at  the  instance  of  a  person,  who  had  without  any
reasonable explanation slept over his rights for 6 or 12 years. The  history
of these writs both  in  England  and  the  U.S.A.  convinces  me  that  the
underlying idea of the  Constitution  was  to  provide  an  expeditious  and
authoritative remedy against the inroads of the State. If a claim is  barred
under the Limitation Act, unless there are exceptional circumstances,  prima
facie it is a stale claim and should not be entertained by this  Court.  But
even if it is not barred under the Indian Limitation  Act,  it  may  not  be
entertained by this Court if on the facts of the case there is  unreasonable
delay. For instance, if the State had taken possession of property  under  a
law alleged to be void, and if a petitioner comes to  this  Court  11  years
after the possession was taken by the State, I would  dismiss  the  petition
on the ground of delay, unless there is  some  reasonable  explanation.  The
fact that a suit for possession of land would still be in time would not  be
relevant at all. It is difficult to lay down a precise period  beyond  which
delay should be explained. I favour one year because this Court  should  not
be approached lightly, and competent legal advice should be taken  and  pros
and cons carefully weighed  before  coming  to  this  Court.  It  is  common
knowledge that appeals and representations to the  higher  authorities  take
time; time spent in pursuing these remedies may not be  excluded  under  the
Limitation Act, but it may ordinarily be taken as  a  good  explanation  for
the delay.
30. In my opinion the petitioner was under a mistake of law,  when  he  paid
up, the mistake being that he thought  that  Section  12-A(4)  was  a  valid
provision in spite of its imposing unreasonable restrictions.  This  mistake
he discovered like all assessees when this court  struck  down  Section  12-
A(4) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act. He has  come  to  this  Court  within  six
months of that day and there is no delay".
Bachawat  J., held as follows:
"41. Similarly this Court acts on the analogy of the statute  of  limitation
in respect of a claim under Article  32  of  the  Constitution  though  such
claim is not the subject of any express statutory bar of limitation. If  the
right to a property is extinguished by prescription under Section 27 of  the
Limitation Act, 1963, the petitioner has no subsisting right  which  can  be
enforced under Article  32  (see Sobbraj  Odharmal v.  State  of  Rajasthan)
[(1963) Supp (1) SCR 99, 111] . In other cases where  the  remedy  only  and
not the right is extinguished by limitation, it is on grounds of the  public
policy that the court refuses to entertain stale claims  under  Article  32.
The statutes of  limitation  are  founded  on  sound  principles  of  public
policy. As observed in Whitley Stoke's Anglo-Indian Codes, Vol. 11, p.  940;
"The law is founded on public policy, its aim being to secure the  quiet  of
the community, to suppress fraud and perjury, to quicken diligence,  and  to
prevent    oppression".    In Her    Highness    Ruckmaboye v.     Luloobhoy
Mottickchund [(1851-52) 5 MIA 234, 251] the Privy Council observed that  the
object of the statutes of limitation  was  to  give  effect  to  the  maxim,
"interest reipublicoe ut sit finis litium" (co litt  303)  the  interest  of
the State requires that there should be a  limit  to  litigation.  The  rule
of res  judicata is  founded  upon  the  same   rule   of   public   policy,
see Daryao v. State of U.P. at p. 584. The other  ground  of  public  policy
upon which the statutes of limitation are founded is expressed in the  maxim
"vigilantibus non dormientibus jura subveniunt" (2 Co Inst.  690)  the  laws
aid the vigilant and not those who slumber. On grounds of public policy  the
court  applies  the  principles  of res  judicata to  writ  petitions  under
Article 32. On like grounds the court acts on the analogy  of  the  statutes
of limitation in the exercise of  its  jurisdiction  under  Article  32.  It
follows that the present petition must be dismissed"
Mitter  J., held as follows:
"66. In my view, a claim based  on  the  infraction  of  fundamental  rights
ought not to  be  entertained  if  made  beyond  the  period  fixed  by  the
Limitation Act for the enforcement of the right by way of  suit.  While  not
holding that the Limitation Act applies in terms, I  am  of  the  view  that
ordinarily the period fixed by the Limitation Act should be taken  to  be  a
true measure of the time within which a person can be  allowed  to  raise  a
plea successfully under Article 32 of the Constitution. "
The sole dissentient was Hegde, J.,  who  decided  that  Article  32  itself
being a fundamental right, there is no question of delay being used to  non-
suit a petitioner at the threshold. His minority view is as follows:
"75. There has been some controversy whether an aggrieved  party  can  waive
his  fundamental   right.   That   question   was   elaborately   considered
in Basheshar Nath v. CIT, Delhi, Rajasthan [(1959) Supp (1) SCR  528]  by  a
Constitution Bench consisting of S.R. Das, C.J.,  and  Bhagwati,  S.K.  Das,
J.L., Kapur and Subba Rao, JJ. The learned  Chief  Justice  and  Kapur,  J.,
held that there could be  no  waiver  of  a  fundamental  right  founded  on
Article 14. Bhagwati and Subba Rao, JJ., held that no fundamental right  can
be waived and S.K. Das, J., held that only  such  fundamental  rights  which
are intended to the benefit of a party can be waived. I  am  mentioning  all
these aspects to show how zealously this  court  has  been  resisting  every
attempt to narrow down the scope of the rights guaranteed under Part III  of
our Constitution.
76. Admittedly the provisions contained in the Limitation Act do  not  apply
to proceedings under Article 226 or  Article  32.  The  Constitution  makers
wisely, if I may  say  with  respect,  excluded  the  application  of  those
provisions to proceedings under Articles 226, 227 and 32 lest  the  efficacy
of the constitutional remedies should be left to the tender mercies  of  the
legislatures. This Court has laid down in I.C. Golaknath v. State of  Punjab
[(1967) 2 SCR 762] that the Parliament cannot by amending  the  Constitution
abridge  the  fundamental  rights  conferred   under   Part   III   of   the
Constitution. If we are to bring in the provisions of Limitation Act  by  an
indirect process to control the remedies conferred by  the  Constitution  it
would mean that what the Parliament cannot do directly it can do  indirectly
by curtailing the period of limitation for suits against the Government.  We
may console ourselves by saying that the provisions of  the  Limitation  Act
will have only persuasive value but they do not  limit  the  power  of  this
Court but the reality is bound to be otherwise.  Very  soon  the  line  that
demarcates the rule of prudence and binding rule is bound to vanish  as  has
happened in the past. The fear that forgotten claims  and  discarded  rights
may be sought to be enforced against the Government after  lapse  of  years,
if the fundamental rights are held to be enforceable without any time  limit
appears to be an exaggerated one. It is for  the  party  who  complains  the
infringement of any right to establish his right. As years roll on his  task
is bound to become more and more difficult. He can enforce only an  existing
right. A right may be lost due to an earlier decision of a  competent  court
or due to various other reasons. If a right is lost for one  reason  or  the
other there is no right to be enforced. In this case we are dealing with  an
existing right even if it can be said that  the  petitioners'  remedy  under
the ordinary law is barred. If the decision of Bachawat and Mitter, JJ.,  is
correct, startling results are likely to follow. Let us take for  example  a
case of a person who  is  convicted  and  sentenced  to  a  long  period  of
imprisonment on the basis of a statute which had been repealed  long  before
the alleged offence was committed. He  comes  to  know  the  repeal  of  the
statute long after the period prescribed for filing  appeal  expires.  Under
such a circumstance according to the decision of Bachawat and  Mitter,  JJ.,
he will have no right - the discretion of the court apart  -  to  move  this
court for a writ of habeas corpus.
77. Our Constitution makers in their wisdom thought that no  fetters  should
be placed on the right of an aggrieved party to seek relief from this  court
under Article 32. A comparison of the language of Article 226 with  that  of
Article 32 will show that while under Article 226 a discretionary  power  is
conferred on the High Courts the mandate of the Constitution is absolute  so
far as the exercise of this court's power under  Article  32  is  concerned.
Should this court, an institution  primarily  created  for  the  purpose  of
safeguarding the  fundamental  rights  guaranteed  under  Part  III  of  the
Constitution, narrow down those rights? The implications  of  this  decision
are bound to be far reaching. It is  likely  to  pull  down  from  the  high
pedestal now occupied by the fundamental rights to the level of other  civil
rights. I am apprehensive that this decision may mark an  important  turning
point  in  downgrading  the  fundamental   rights   guaranteed   under   the
Constitution. I am firmly of the view that a relief asked for under  Article
32 cannot be refused  on  the  ground  of  laches.  The  provisions  of  the
Limitation  Act  have  no  relevance  either  directly  or   indirectly   to
proceedings  under  Article  32.  Considerations  which  are   relevant   in
proceedings under Article 226 are wholly out of place in a  proceeding  like
the one before us. The decision of this court referred to  in  the  judgment
of Bachawat and Mitter, JJ., where this court has taken  into  consideration
the laches on the part of the petitioners are not apposite for  our  present
purpose. None of those cases deal with proceedings under Article 32  of  the
Constitution.  The  rule  enunciated  by  this   court   in   the State   of
M.P. v. Bhailal Bhai, [(1964) 6 SCR 261] is only applicable  to  proceedings
under Article 226. At p. 271 of the report, Das Gupta,  J.,  who  spoke  for
the court specifically referred to this aspect when he says:
"That it has been made clear more than  once  that  power  to  relief  under
Article 226 is a discretionary power."
23.   It will thus be seen that Hidayatullah, C.J., did  not  lay  down  any
fixed period.  According to him, there is no  lower  limit  or  upper  limit
except that utmost expedition is a sine qua non for moving a petition  under
Article 32. The learned Chief Justice left it to be decided on the facts  of
each case depending on what the breach of the  fundamental  right  is,  what
the remedy claimed is, and when and how the delay arose.  Sikri J.,  on  the
other hand was in favour of an inflexible time limit that is not beyond  one
year.  Both Bachawat and Mitter, J., would ask the question  as  to  whether
time under the Limitation Act had run out,  and  if  so,  whether  the  writ
petition ought to be dismissed as a result.
24.   It is clear from a reading  of  these  differing  judgments  that  the
ratio of this Constitution bench judgment can broadly be stated to  be  that
a writ petition filed under Article 32 can be dismissed  on  the  ground  of
delay.  Beyond that, there is no discernible ratio as  no  majority  can  be
cobbled up for  deciding  on  what  basis  such  writ  petition  can  be  so
25.   Close on the heels of this judgment in Rabindranath  Bose  &  Ors.  v.
Union of India & Ors.,  (1970)  1  SCC  84,  a  fervent  plea  was  made  to
reconsider the judgment in Tilokchand Motichand. This plea was  turned  down
and it was held that a stale claim of 15  years  to  challenge  appointments
and promotions already made without any explanation for so moving  after  15
years would result in dismissal of an Article  32  petition,  more  so  when
rights had accrued to the respondents in that case.  The Court held:
"31. But insofar as the attack is based on  the  1952  Seniority  Rules,  it
must fail on another ground. The  ground  being  that  this  petition  under
Article 32 of the Constitution has been brought about  fifteen  years  after
the 1952 Rules were promulgated and effect given to them  in  the  Seniority
List prepared on August 1, 1953. Learned counsel for  the  petitioners  says
that this Court has no discretion and  cannot  dismiss  the  petition  under
Article 32 on the ground that it has been brought  after  inordinate  delay.
We  are  unable  to  accept  this  contention.  This   Court   by   majority
in Tilokchand Moti Chand v. H.B. Munshi [(1969) 1 SCC 110] held  that  delay
can be fatal in certain circumstances. We  may  mention  that  in Laxmanappa
Hanumantappa Jamkhandi v. Union of India [AIR 1955 SC 3, (1955) 1  SCR  769]
Mahajan, C.J., observed as follows:
"From the facts stated above it is plain that the  proceedings  taken  under
the  impugned  Act  30  of  1947  concluded  so  far  as  the  Investigation
Commission is concerned in September 1952 more than two  years  before  this
petition was presented in  this  Court.  The  assessment  orders  under  the
Income Tax Act itself were made against the petitioner in November 1953.
In these circumstances, we are of the opinion that  he  is  entitled  to  no
relief under the provisions of Article 32 of the Constitution. It  was  held
by this Court in Ramjilal v. ITO that as there is  a  special  provision  in
Article 265 of the Constitution that no tax shall  be  levied  or  collected
except by authority of law, clause (1)  of  Article  31  must  therefore  be
regarded as concerned with deprivation of property  otherwise  than  by  the
imposition or collection of tax, and inasmuch  as  the  right  conferred  by
Article 265 is not a right conferred by Part III  of  the  Constitution,  it
could not be enforced under Article 32. In view of this decision it  has  to
be held that the petition under  Article  32  is  not  maintainable  in  the
situation  that  has  arisen  and  that  even  otherwise  in  the   peculiar
circumstances that have arisen, it would not be just and  proper  to  direct
the issue of any of the writs the issue of which is discretionary  with  the
                                                        (emphasis supplied).
32. The  learned  counsel  for  the  petitioners  strongly  urges  that  the
decision of this Court  in Tilokchand  Motichand  case [(1969)  1  SCC  110]
needs review. But after carefully considering the  matter,  we  are  of  the
view that no  relief  should  be  given  to  petitioners  who,  without  any
reasonable  explanation,  approach  this  Court  under  Article  32  of  the
Constitution after inordinate delay. The highest  Court  in  this  land  has
been given original jurisdiction to entertain petitions under Article 32  of
the Constitution. It could not have  been  the  intention  that  this  Court
would go into stale demands after a lapse of years. It is said that  Article
32 is itself a guaranteed right. So it is, but it does not follow from  this
that it was the intention of the Constitution-makers that this Court  should
discard all principles and grant relief in petitions filed after  inordinate
33. We are not anxious to throw out petitions on this ground,  but  we  must
administer justice in accordance with law and principles of equity,  justice
and good conscience. It would be unjust to deprive the  respondents  of  the
rights which have accrued to them. Each person ought to be entitled  to  sit
back and consider that his appointment and promotion effected  a  long  time
ago would not be set aside after the lapse of a number of years. It  was  on
this ground that this Court in Jaisinghani case observed that the  order  in
that case would not  affect  Class  II  officers  who  have  been  appointed
permanently as Assistant Commissioners. In that case,  the  Court  was  only
considering the challenge to appointments and promotions  made  after  1950.
In this case, we are asked to consider  the  validity  of  appointments  and
promotions made during the periods of 1945 to 1950. If  there  was  adequate
reason in that case to leave out Class II officers, who had  been  appointed
permanently Assistant Commissioners, there is much more reason in this  case
that the officers who are now permanent Assistant  Commissioners  of  Income
Tax and who were appointed and promoted to their original posts during  1945
to 1950, should be left alone."
26.   In Ramchandra Shankar Deodhar v. State of Maharashtra,  (1974)  1  SCC
317, a Constitution Bench was invited to  dismiss  a  petition  filed  under
Article 32 on the ground of laches.  The petitioner  having  approached  the
court after a delay of at least eight years, the Court held that  barring  a
writ petition containing stale claims is not a rule of law  but  a  rule  of
practice based on sound and proper discretion.  There is no inviolable  rule
that whenever there is  a  delay,  the  court  must  necessarily  refuse  to
entertain  the  petition.   After  referring  to  Tilokchand  Motichand  and
Rabindranath Bose, the Court held that the  claim  for  enforcement  of  the
fundamental right of equal opportunity under Article 16 cannot be  dismissed
solely on the ground of delay/laches etc.  The Court also went  on  to  hold
that promotions being provisional,  no rights have been conferred  on  those
who are promoted whose interest can therefore be defeated  if ultimately  it
is found that such promotions are not warranted in law.
27.   In Express Publication (Madurai) Ltd. v. Union  of  India,  (2004)  11
SCC 526, the employer newspaper wished  to challenge  paragraph  80  of  the
Employees Provident Fund Scheme, 1952, which came into force in  1956.   The
challenge was made in a writ petition under Article 32, 45  years  later  in
2001.  This was turned down by a Bench of two Judges with a caveat, that  if
it was the case of the petitioners that with the passage of time, a  certain
provision had become unconstitutional, then obviously the  very  passage  of
time would not amount to delay for  which  a  writ  petition  would  not  be
28.   Similarly in T.K. Dingal v. State of West Bengal, (2009) 1 SCC 768,  a
Bench of two Judges held  that there is no upper and no lower limit when  it
comes to an Article 32 petition.  It  all  depends  on  the  breach  of  the
particular fundamental right, the remedy claimed, and how the  delay  arose.
On facts, the petition was turned down as there was an unexplained delay  of
ten years.
29.   In Bangalore City Co-operative Housing Society v. State of  Karnataka,
(2012) 3 SCC 727, a two Judge Bench of this Court understood  the  ratio  of
Tilokchand Motichand as follows:
"46. In Tilokchand  Motichand v. H.B.  Munshi [(1969)   1   SCC   110]   the
Constitution Bench considered the question whether the writ  petition  filed
under Article 32 of the Constitution for refund of the amount  forfeited  by
the Sales Tax Officer under Section 21(4)  of  the  Bombay  Sales  Tax  Act,
1953, which, according to the petitioner, was ultra vires the powers of  the
State Legislature should be entertained ignoring the delay  of  almost  nine
years. Sikri  and  Hedge,  JJ.  were  of  the  view  that  even  though  the
petitioner had approached  the  Court  with  considerable  delay,  the  writ
petition filed by it should  be  allowed  because  Section  12-A(4)  of  the
Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1946 was declared  unconstitutional  by  the  Division
Bench of the High Court (sic Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court)  [Ed.:
S. 12-A(4) of the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1946 (corresponding to S.  21(4)  of
the Bombay Sales Tax Act, 1953) was struck down by  the  Constitution  Bench
of the Supreme Court in Kantilal Babulal v. H.C. Patel, AIR 1968  SC  445  :
(1968) 1 SCR 735 : 21 STC 174 for being violative of Art.  19(1)(f)  of  the
Constitution.] . Bachawat and Mitter, JJ.  opined  that  the  writ  petition
should be dismissed on the ground of delay.
47. Hidayatullah,  C.J.  who  agreed   with   Bachawat   and   Mitter,   JJ.
in Tilokchand case[(1969) 1 SCC 110] noted that no period of limitation  has
been prescribed for filing a petition under Article 32 of  the  Constitution
and proceeded to observe: (SCC p. 116, para 11)
"11. Therefore, the question is one of discretion for this Court  to  follow
from case to case. There is no lower limit and there is no  upper  limit.  A
case may be brought within the Limitation Act by reason of some article  but
this Court need not necessarily give the total time to the litigant to  move
this Court under Article 32. Similarly in a suitable  case  this  Court  may
entertain such a petition even after a lapse of time. It will all depend  on
what the breach of the fundamental right and the  remedy  claimed  are  when
and how the delay arose."
48. The ratio of the aforesaid decision is that  even  though  there  is  no
period of limitation for filing petitions under Articles 32 and 226  of  the
Constitution, the petitioner should approach the Court without loss of  time
and if there is delay, then cogent explanation should  be  offered  for  the
same. However, no hard-and-fast rule can be  laid  down  or  a  straitjacket
formula can be adopted for deciding whether or not this Court  or  the  High
Court should entertain a belated petition filed under Article 32 or  Article
226 of the Constitution and each case must be decided on its own facts."
30.   It will be seen that, in the present  case,  the  petitioners  in  the
various writ petitions represent an entire people  -  the  tribal  and  non-
tribal population of the State  of  Assam.  In  their  petition,  they  have
raised a plea that the sovereignty and  integrity  of  India  is  itself  at
stake as a massive influx of illegal migrants  from  a  neighboring  country
has affected this core Constitutional value.  That, in  fact,  it  has  been
held in Sonowal's case that such an influx is "external  aggression"  within
the meaning of Article 355 of  the  Constitution  of  India,  and  that  the
Central Government has done precious  little  to  stem  this   tide  thereby
resulting in a violation of Article 355.  As a result of this  huge  influx,
periodic clashes have been taking place between the citizens  of  India  and
these migrants resulting into loss of  life  and  property,  sounding  in  a
violation of Articles 21 and 29 of the Constitution of the  Assamese  people
as a whole.  Not only is there an assault on the life of  the  citizenry  of
the State of Assam but there is an assault on their way  of  life  as  well.
The culture of an entire people is being eroded in  such  a  way  that  they
will ultimately be swamped by persons who have no right to continue to  live
in this country.  The petitioners have also argued that this  Hon'ble  Court
in Sonowal's case has specifically held in para 79 thereof that  Bangladeshi
nationals who have illegally crossed the border  and  have  trespassed  into
Assam or are living in other parts of the country have  no  legal  right  of
any kind to remain in India and are liable to be deported.   They have  also
raised a fervent plea that Article 14  also  continues  to  be  violated  as
Section 6A (3) to (5) are not time bound but are ongoing.
31.   Given the contentions raised specifically with regard to  pleas  under
Articles 21 and 29, of a whole class of people, namely, the tribal and  non-
tribal citizens of Assam and given the fact that  agitations  on  this  core
are ongoing, we do not feel that petitions of this kind can be dismissed  at
the threshold on the ground of delay/laches. Indeed, if we were  to  do  so,
we would be guilty of shirking our Constitutional duty to protect the  lives
of our own citizens and their culture.  In fact, the time has come  to  have
a relook at the doctrine of laches altogether when it  comes  to  violations
of Articles 21 and 29.
32.   Tilokchand Motichand  is  a  judgment  involving  property  rights  of
individuals.  Ramchandra Deodhar's case, also of  a  Constitution  Bench  of
five judges has held that the fundamental right under Article 16  cannot  be
wished away solely  on  the  'jejune'  ground  of  delay.  Since  Tilokchand
Motichand's case was decided, there have been important strides made in  the
law.  Property Rights have been removed from part III  of  the  Constitution
altogether by the Constitution 44th Amendment Act. The same  amendment  made
it clear that even during an emergency, the fundamental right under  Article
21 can never be suspended, and amended Article 359 (1)  to  give  effect  to
this. In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, (1978)  1  SCC  248  decided  nine
years after  Tilokchand  Motichand,  Article  21  has  been  given  its  new
dimension, and pursuant to the new dimension a huge number  of  rights  have
come under the umbrella of Article 21 (for an enumeration of  these  rights,
see Kapila Hingorani v. State  of  Bihar,  (2003)  6  SCC  1  at  para  57).
Further, in Olga Tellis & Ors. v. Bombay  Municipal  Corporation,  (1985)  3
SCC 545,  it has now been conclusively  held  that  all  fundamental  rights
cannot be waived (at para 29). Given these  important  developments  in  the
law, the time has come for this Court to say that at least when it comes  to
violations of the fundamental right to life and personal liberty,  delay  or
laches by itself without more would not be sufficient to shut the  doors  of
the court on any petitioner.
33.   Coming now to the merits, we  have  heard  several  counsels  for  the
petitioners who have raised a number of points, which have been rebutted  by
the counsel for  the  Union  of  India,  the  State  of  Assam  and  several
interveners. We feel that the following questions need to be answered by  an
appropriate Bench as most of  them  are  substantial  questions  as  to  the
interpretation of the Constitution which have to be decided by a minimum  of
5 Judges under Article 145(3). An  enumeration  of  these  questions  is  as
(i)   Whether Articles 10 and 11 of the Constitution  of  India  permit  the
enactment of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act in as much as Section 6A,  in
prescribing a cut-off date different from the  cut-off  date  prescribed  in
Article 6, can do so without a "variation" of Article 6 itself;  regard,  in
particular, being had to the phraseology of Article 4 (2) read with  Article
368 (1)?
(ii)  Whether Section 6A violates Articles 325 and 326 of  the  Constitution
of India in that it has diluted the political rights of the citizens of  the
State of Assam;
(iii) What is the scope  of  the  fundamental  right  contained  in  Article
29(1)? Is the fundamental right absolute in its terms? In  particular,  what
is the meaning of the expression "culture" and  the  expression  "conserve"?
Whether Section 6A violates Article 29(1)?
(iv)  Whether  Section  6A  violates  Article  355?   What   is   the   true
interpretation of Article 355  of  the  Constitution?  Would  an  influx  of
illegal migrants into a State  of  India  constitute  "external  aggression"
and/or "internal disturbance"? Does  the  expression  "State"  occurring  in
this Article refer only to a territorial region or does it also include  the
people living in the State, which would include their culture and identity?
(v) Whether Section 6A violates Article 14 in that,  it  singles  out  Assam
from  other  border  States  (which   comprise   a   distinct   class)   and
discriminates against it.  Also whether  there  is  no  rational  basis  for
having a separate cut-off date for regularizing illegal migrants  who  enter
Assam as opposed to the rest of the country; and
(vi) Whether Section 6A violates Article 21 in that the lives  and  personal
liberty of the citizens  of  Assam  have  been  affected  adversely  by  the
massive influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
(vii) Whether delay is a factor that can be taken into account  in  moulding
relief under a petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution?
(viii) Whether, after a large number of migrants  from  East  Pakistan  have
enjoyed rights as Citizens of India for over 40 years,  any  relief  can  be
given in the petitions filed in the present cases?
(ix) Whether section 6A violates the basic premise of the  Constitution  and
the Citizenship Act in that it permits Citizens who have allegedly not  lost
their Citizenship of East Pakistan  to  become  deemed  Citizens  of  India,
thereby conferring dual Citizenship to such persons?
(x) Whether section 6A violates the  fundamental  basis  of  section  5  (1)
proviso and section 5 (2) of the Citizenship Act (as it stood  in  1985)  in
that it permits a class of migrants  to  become  deemed  Citizens  of  India
without any reciprocity from Bangladesh  and  without  taking  the  oath  of
allegiance to the Indian Constitution?
(xi) Whether the  Immigrants  (Expulsion  from  Assam)  Act,  1950  being  a
special enactment qua immigrants into Assam, alone  can  apply  to  migrants
from East Pakistan/Bangladesh to the exclusion  of  the  general  Foreigners
Act and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 made thereunder?
(xii) Whether Section 6A violates the Rule of Law in that it  gives  way  to
political expediency and not  to Government according to law?
(xiii)      Whether Section  6A  violates  fundamental  rights  in  that  no
mechanism is provided to determine which persons are ordinarily resident  in
Assam since the dates of  their  entry  into  Assam,  thus  granting  deemed
citizenship to such persons arbitrarily?
34.   These matters be placed before the Chief Justice for  constitution  of
an appropriate bench to answer the above questions. As notice is yet  to  be
issued in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 876 of 2014, we direct  that  notice  be
issued and served on the Respondents in the said writ petition.
35.   As Section 6A of the Citizenship Act must be deemed to be valid  until
the larger Bench decides these matters, we will proceed,  for  the  purposes
of this order, on the footing that Section 6A  of  the  Citizenship  Act  is
36.   As the statement of objects and reasons for the enactment  of  Section
6A states, the said Section was inserted into the statute book  in  1985  to
implement one part of the Assam Accord dated 15th August, 1985.   The  Assam
Accord contained various provisions providing  for  reciprocal  obligations.
These are largely contained in paragraphs 5, 6,  9  and  10  which  read  as
1. For purpose of detection and deletion of foreigners,  1-1-1966  shall  be
the base date and year.
2. All persons who came to Assam prior to 1-1-1966, including those  amongst
them whose names appeared on the electoral rolls  used  in  1967  elections,
shall be regularized.
3. Foreigners who came to Assam after 1-1-1966  (inclusive)  and  upto  24th
March, 1971 shall be detected in  accordance  with  the  provisions  of  the
Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1939.
4. Names of foreigners so detected will be deleted from the electoral  rolls
in force. Such persons will be required to register  themselves  before  the
Registration Officers of the respective districts  in  accordance  with  the
provisions of the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and the  Registration
of Foreigners Rules, 1939.
5.  For  this  purpose,  Government  of  India   will   undertake   suitable
strengthening of the governmental machinery.
6. On the expiry of the period of ten year following the date of  detection,
the names of all such persons which have been  deleted  from  the  electoral
rolls shall be restored.
7. All  persons  who  were  expelled  earlier,  but  have  since  re-entered
illegally into Assam, shall be expelled.
8. Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25,  1971  shall  continue
to be detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with the  law.  Immediate
and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.
9. The Government  will  give  due  consideration  to  certain  difficulties
express by the  AASU/AAGSP  regarding  the  implementation  of  the  illegal
Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983.
6. Constitutional, legislative and  administrative  safeguards,  as  may  be
appropriate,  shall  be  provided  to  protect,  preserve  and  promote  the
cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
1.  The  international  border  shall  be   made   secure   against   future
infiltration by  erection  of  physical  barriers  like  walls  barbed  wire
fencing and other obstacles at appropriate places.  Patrolling  by  security
forces on land and riverine routes all along the international border  shall
be adequately intensified. In  order  to  further  strengthen  the  security
arrangements,  to  prevent  effectively  future  infiltration,  an  adequate
number of check posts shall be set up.
2. Besides the arrangements mentioned above and  keeping  in  view  security
considerations,  a  road  all  along  the  international  border  shall   be
constructed so as to facilitate patrolling by security forces. Land  between
border and the road  would  be  kept  free  of  human  habitation,  wherever
possible. Riverine  patrolling  along  the  international  border  would  be
intensified.  All  effective  measures   would   be   adopted   to   prevent
infiltrators crossing or attempting to cross the international border.
10.   It will be ensured that relevant laws for prevention  of  encroachment
of government lands and lands  in  tribal  belts  and  blocks  are  strictly
enforced and unauthorized  encroachers  evicted  as  laid  down  under  such
37.   Sarbananda Sonowal v. Union of India & Anr., (2005) 5 SCC  665,  dealt
with the Assam Accord in  some detail in as much  as  The  Illegal  Migrants
(Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 was under  challenge  in  that  case.
This Court examined a writ petition  filed  under  Article  32  and  various
affidavits filed by the Union of India and  the  State  of  Assam  regarding
implementation of the  Assam  Accord.  The  following  paragraphs  from  the
judgment will show that whereas a part of paragraph  5  of  the  Accord  has
been fully implemented by enacting Section  6A,  precious  little  has  been
done by the Union of India and the State of Assam  to  implement  the  other
parts of the Accord.
"2...................... As a result of the students' movement  and  ensuing
negotiations, a memorandum of settlement dated 15-8-1985  was  entered  into
between All Assam Students' Union and the Union of India and  the  State  of
Assam, which is commonly known as "Assam Accord". The terms  of  the  Accord
specifically provided that  steps  would  be  taken  to  detect  and  deport
illegal migrants from Assam  and  it  also  contained  a  clause  that  "the
Government will give due consideration to certain difficulties expressed  by
AASU/AAGSP  regarding   the   implementation   of   the   Illegal   Migrants
(Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983". The Accord  further  provided  that
foreigners who have entered into India after 25-3-1971 will continue  to  be
detected, their names deleted from the electoral  rolls  and  they  will  be
deported from India. In pursuance of this provision,  the  Citizenship  Act,
1955 was amended by Act 65 of 1985 and Section 6-A  was  inserted  with  the
heading "Special provisions as to citizenship  of  persons  covered  by  the
Assam Accord". It provides that the term "detected to be a foreigner"  shall
mean so detected under the Foreigners Act  and  the  Foreigners  (Tribunals)
Order, 1964 framed thereunder. Under the said provision a person  of  Indian
origin as defined under Section 6-A (3) who entered into Assam prior to 1-1-
1966 and has been resident in Assam since then is deemed to be a citizen  of
India. However, if such a person entered into  Assam  between  1-1-1966  and
before 25-3-1971  and  has  been  detected  to  be  a  foreigner  under  the
Foreigners Act then he is not entitled to be included in the electoral  list
for a period of 10 years from the date of detection. This amendment  of  the
Citizenship Act makes  it  clear  that  the  question  of  determination  or
detection of a foreigner  is  to  be  governed  by  the  provisions  of  the
existing  Central  legislation  viz.  the  Foreigners  Act,  1946  and   the
Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964.
4. The Union of India filed a  counter-affidavit  on  18-7-2000,  which  has
been sworn by Shri Jatinder Bir Singh, Director, Ministry of  Home  Affairs.
In para 7 of this affidavit, it was stated that a  proposal  to  repeal  the
IMDT Act is under consideration of the Government of India. A  copy  of  the
reply given by Shri I.D. Swami, Minister of State in the  Ministry  of  Home
Affairs in the Rajya Sabha on 8-3-2000 has been filed  as  Annexure  R-2  to
the counter-affidavit, wherein the Minister had said that in  the  State  of
Assam Foreigners Tribunals under the Foreigners Act,  1946  are  functioning
for detection of illegal migrants, who had come to the State of Assam  after
1-1-1966  and  up  to  24-3-1971  and  the  Illegal  Migrants  Determination
Tribunals under the  IMDT  Act  have  been  constituted  for  detection  and
deportation of illegal migrants, who had entered into India on or after  25-
3-1971. The Hon'ble Minister had further stated that the  Government  is  of
the view that application of the IMDT Act to the State  of  Assam  alone  is
discriminatory and a proposal to repeal the said Act is under  consideration
of the Government. A true copy of the latest  status  report  filed  by  the
Government in Writ Petition No. 125 of 1998, which has  been  filed  seeking
deportation of all Bangladeshi nationals  from  India,  has  been  filed  as
Annexure R-1 to the counter-affidavit and paras 3 to 7 of  the  said  status
report are being reproduced below:
"3. Continuing influx of  Bangladeshi  nationals  into  India  has  been  on
account of a variety of reasons including religious and economic.  There  is
a combination of factors on both sides which are responsible for  continuing
influx of illegal immigration from Bangladesh. The important 'Push  Factors'
on the Bangladesh side include:
(a) steep and continuous increase in population;
(b) sharp deterioration in land-man ratio;
(c)  low  rates  of  economic  growth  particularly  poor   performance   in
The 'Pull Factors' on the Indian side include:
(a) ethnic proximity and kinship enabling easy shelter to the immigrants;
(b) porous and easily negotiable border with Bangladesh;
(c) better economic opportunities;
(d) interested religious and political elements encouraging immigration;
4. It is difficult to make a realistic estimate of  the  number  of  illegal
immigrants from Bangladesh because they enter surreptitiously and  are  able
to mingle easily with the local population  due  to  ethnic  and  linguistic
similarities.  The  demographic  composition  in  the  districts   bordering
Bangladesh has altered with the illegal  immigration  from  Bangladesh.  The
districts of Assam  and  West  Bengal  bordering  Bangladesh  have  recorded
growth of population  higher  than  the  national  average.  The  States  of
Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura have also recorded high rates  of  population
growth. Illegal immigrants from Bangladesh have also been using West  Bengal
as a corridor to migrate to other parts of the country.
5. The large-scale influx of illegal Bangladesh immigrants has led to  large
tracts of sensitive international  borders  being  occupied  by  foreigners.
This has serious implications for internal security.
6. The types of illegal migrants are as follows:
(a) those who came with valid visa/documents and overstayed;
(b) those who came with forged visa/documents; and
(c) those who entered surreptitiously.
7. During talks between the Prime  Ministers  of  India  and  Bangladesh  in
February 1972, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh had assured  the  return  of
all Bangladesh nationals who had taken shelter  in  India  since  25-3-1971.
Accordingly a circular was issued by the Government of  India  on  30-9-1972
setting out guidelines for action to be taken in respect of persons who  had
come to India from Bangladesh. According to this circular, those  Bangladesh
nationals who had come to India before 25-3-1971 were not to  be  sent  back
and those  who  entered  India  in  or  after  the  said  date  were  to  be
5. In para 12  of  the  counter-affidavit  it  is  stated  that  "the  basic
objection  of  the  petitioner  is  under  consideration  of   the   Central
Government that  the  IMDT  Act  and  the  Rules  made  thereunder  are  not
effective in comparison to the Foreigners Act, 1946, which is applicable  to
the whole country except to the State of Assam". In para 18 of the  counter-
affidavit it is stated that the administrative  powers  in  respect  of  the
IMDT Act have been delegated to the Government of Assam under Section 21  of
the aforesaid Act. The second sub-paragraph of para 18 and para  19  of  the
counter-affidavit are important and are being reproduced below:
"It is further submitted that the detection/expulsion  of  illegal  migrants
under the IMDT Act, has been extremely dismal. According to the  information
furnished  by  the  Government  of  Assam,  the  progress  in   respect   of
detection/expulsion of illegal migrants  (those  who  entered  Assam  on  or
after 25-3-1971 up to 30-4-2000) is as follows:
1. Total number of enquiries initiated                   3,10,759
2. Total number of enquiries completed             3,07,955
3. Total number of enquiries referred to the Screening   3,01,986
4. Total number of enquiries made by the Screening 2,98,465
5. Total number of enquiries referred to IM(DT)s            38,631
6. Total number of enquiries disposed of by IM(DT)s        16,599
7. Total number of persons declared as illegal migrants    10,015
8. Total number of illegal migrants physically expelled       1481
9. Total number of illegal migrants to whom expulsion         5733
    order served
10. Total number of enquiries pending with the Screening      3521
11. Total number of enquiries pending with the Tribunal     22,072
In reply to para 9, it is submitted that the Chief  Minister  of  Assam  had
requested the then Prime Minister vide his letter dated 22-6-1996  regarding
repeal of the IMDT Act. The Chief Minister again  reiterated  for  scrapping
the IMDT Act,  vide  his  letter  dated  31-7-1996  addressed  to  the  Home
Minister. This view has been reconfirmed by the State  Government  vide  its
message dated 23-4-1998."
11. The Union of India filed a counter-affidavit sworn by Shri Jatinder  Bir
Singh, Director, Ministry of  Home  Affairs,  in  reply  to  the  additional
affidavit of the State of Assam. It is averred therein that  the  matter  of
constitutional validity of  the  IMDT  Act  does  not  depend  on  political
issues, but depends on facts and legal grounds. The  relevant  part  of  the
opening part of the affidavit which has some relevance is  being  reproduced
"In this context, it is submitted that detection of  illegal  migrants,  who
belong to the same ethnic stock as Indians is not  an  easy  task.  However,
large-scale illegal migrants from Bangladesh have not  only  threatened  the
demographic structure of the area but have seriously impaired  the  security
of the nation, particularly in  the  present  circumstances.  The  need  for
expeditious identification of illegal migrants is  more  pressing  now  than
ever. It is not a matter of dealing with a religious  or  linguistic  group.
It is a question of identifying those who illegally crossed over the  border
and  continue  to  live  in  India  contrary  to  the  Indian  law  and  the
The facts and figures which have been stated by the Union of  India  in  its
affidavit  filed  in  the  case  titled  'Jamiat  Ulama-E-Hind v. Union   of
India [WP (C) No. 7 of 2001]' clearly indicate that it is the  existence  of
the IMDT Act, which has  been  the  single  factor  responsible  for  dismal
detection and expulsion of illegal migrants  in  Assam.  It  has  also  been
pointed out that in the neighbouring  States,  where  this  law  is  not  in
force, the process of detection (although far from  satisfactory)  has  been
far more effective than in the State of Assam. The application of  the  IMDT
Act, 1983 in Assam virtually gives  the  illegal  migrants,  in  the  State,
preferential protection in a matter relating to the  citizenship  of  India.
This  is  clearly  unconstitutional  and  violative  of  the  principles  of
equality. The affidavit of the State seems to suggest that  the  matter  has
now become a political rather than a legal issue. However, it  is  submitted
that as far as the present pleadings are concerned, the issues indicated  in
the present affidavit of the State under reply, are not  relevant.  None  of
the submissions made in the connected affidavit, referred to above filed  by
the  Union  of  India  in  connected  Writ  Petition  No.  7  of  2001,  are
controverted by the State of Assam in present affidavit. Besides  this,  the
State has not given any  fresh  facts  and  figures,  which  would  seek  to
suggest that this Act  has  secured  the  object  of  dealing  with  illegal
13. The petitioner has also filed a reply to the additional affidavit  filed
on behalf of the State of  Assam,  where  besides  reiterating  his  earlier
pleas, it is averred that the Indian National Congress representatives  from
North-East have themselves alluded to the problem of  illegal  migration  in
the past. Reference is made to a report of the General  Secretaries  to  the
Seventh General Conference of the North-Eastern  Congress  (I)  Coordination
Committee dated 3-7-1992 wherein it was recorded as under:
"20.1 There are infiltrations - though it is a  difficult  task  to  examine
the precise number.
20.2 The infiltrations are not only by minorities  of  Bangladesh  but  also
from the  majority  Muslims.  In  absolute  terms,  the  number  of  Muslims
crossing into India is likely to be much larger than that of non-Muslims.
20.3 An ideological support is  given  to  the  phenomenon  by  the  Islamic
Fundamentalists  creating  the  vision  of  a  larger   country   comprising
Bangladesh and the entire North-East where its  economic  problems  will  be
solved and security ensured.
20.4 There is a direct correlation between the rise  of  fundamentalism  and
increase in influx."
16. In IA No. 6 of 2004, the copy of the  memorandum  submitted  before  the
Parliamentary Standing Committee of Home Affairs on  "the  Illegal  Migrants
Laws (Replacing and Amending) Bill, 2003" on behalf  of  the  Government  of
Assam has  been  filed,  which  contains  the  figures  regarding  inquiries
conducted up to 31-8-2003 and the same is as under:
1. Total number of enquiries initiated                   3,86,249
2. Total number of enquiries completed             3,79,521
3. Total number of enquiries referred to the Screening   3,62,592
4. Total number of enquiries made by the Screening 3,59,733
5. Total number of enquiries referred to IM(DT)s            76,228
6. Total number of enquiries disposed of by IM(DT)s        21,169
7. Total number of persons declared as illegal migrants    11,636
8. Total number of illegal migrants physically expelled       1517
9. Total number of illegal migrants to whom expulsion         6159
    order served
10. Total number of enquiries pending with the Screening      2859
11. Total number of enquiries pending with the Tribunal     55,059"
38.   The State of Assam has prepared a White Paper on the Foreigners  Issue
dated 20th October, 2012.  We propose to  extract  large  portions  of  this
paper only to show that even as on October 20, 2012, very  little  has  been
done to implement paragraphs 5(part), 6, 9 and 10 of the Assam Accord.
2.3.5. The 21 IMDTs functioning in Assam were wound up and  replaced  by  21
new Foreigners  Tribunals.  The  learned  judges  and  staff  of  IMDT  were
redeployed in the  newly  created  additional  Foreigners  Tribunals.  As  a
result, after 2005, 32(21 new + 11 existing)  Foreigners  Tribunals  started
functioning. The number of Foreigners Tribunal has now  been  raised  to  36
with the functioning of 4  new  Foreigners  Tribunals.  The  performance  of
Foreigners Tribunal over different time period is  presented  in  the  table
                         Foreigners Tribunals Cases
|Peri|Cases   |Cases     |Cases     |Persons|No. of        |
|od  |referred|disposed  |pending   |declare|declared      |
|    |        |          |(cumulativ|d as   |foreigners    |
|    |        |          |e)        |Foreign|pushed        |
|    |        |          |          |ers    |Back/deported |
|1985|32991   |15929     |17062     |14801  |133           |
|-90 |        |          |          |       |              |
|1991|482     |5909      |11635     |4005   |267           |
|-95 |        |          |          |       |              |
|1996|2986    |3552      |11069     |6026   |235           |
|-200|        |          |          |       |              |
|0   |        |          |          |       |              |
|2001|6094    |2216      |14947     |4593   |39            |
|-200|        |          |          |       |              |
|5   |        |          |          |       |              |
|2006|65666   |45456     |35157     |12913  |221           |
|-Jul|        |          |          |       |              |
|y   |        |          |          |       |              |
|2012|        |          |          |       |              |
|Tota|108219  |73062     |35157     |42338  |895           |
|l   |        |          |          |       |              |
Consolidated  total  of  deported/pushed  back  illegal  migrants  on  being
declared as foreigners by  IMD(T)s  and  Foreigners  Tribunals  collectively
till July 2012- 1547+895=2442.
2.5.4. In the absence of a proper laid down  procedure  for  deportation  of
illegal migrants between the Government  of  India  and  the  Government  of
Bangladesh, it has become difficult to  carry  out  deportations.  As  such,
deportation of foreigners is mainly carried  out  through  the  'push  back'
method. However, to overcome this problem, the Ministry of Home Affairs  has
recently prescribed a detailed proforma which has  been  circulated  to  all
State Governments for collecting data of such foreigners who  are  presently
being  detained  in  detention  centres.  The  matter  of   deportation   of
foreigners who have illegally entered into India needs to  be  taken  up  by
the Government of India with the Government of Bangladesh so that  a  proper
policy could be evolved and the process  of  deportation  of  such  declared
foreigners become easier and hassle free.
3.1. CLAUSE 6
3.1.1.       As per the  Clause  6  of  the  Assam  Accord,  constitutional,
legislative and administrative safeguards as may  be  appropriate  shall  be
provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural,  social,  linguistic
identity  and  heritage  of  the  Assamese  people.  For  this  purpose  the
Government of Assam had earlier constituted a  Committee  of  Ministers  for
Clause 6 under notification No. IAA 51/2005/29  dated 19th October  2006  to
examine all the issues relating to the implementation of  the  Clause  6  of
the Assam  Accord  including  the  definition  of  'Assamese  people'.  This
Committee had held a number of meetings and also met Political  Parties.  It
sought the views of  different  Political  Parties,  Sahitya  Sabhas,  Youth
Organisations, Student Bodies etc on the  definition  of  'Assamese  People'
and deliberated on the same. After the present Government assumed office  in
May 2011, a Cabinet Sub-Committee was constituted  in  July  2011  to  inter
alia deal with the matter  of  implementation  of  Clause  6  of  the  Assam
Accord. The entire matter is now  under  examination  of  the  Cabinet  Sub-
3.1.2. A cultural centre called the Srimanta Sankardeva  Kalashetra  Complex
has been established in 1992 at a cost of Rs 18.85 crores in  Guwahati.  Out
of this, an amount of Rs 3.15 crores were spent  during  1991-1995  and  the
remaining Rs 15.75 crores spent during 1996-2000. The Jyoti  Chitraban  Film
Studio (Phase I &II) at Guwahati has been modernised at a cost  of  Rs  8.79
crores, of which Rs 4.79 crores were spent  during  1998-2000  and  Rs  4.20
crores  were  spent  during  2001-2003.  The  Phase  III  (Part  I)  of  the
modernisation of the Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio for Rs 10 crores  has  also
been sanctioned by the Govt. of India in 2007. Against  the  release  of  Rs
10.00 crores by the Govt. of India, the State Govt. has  already  sanctioned
Rs 6.66 crores to the Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio Society (JCFSS), which  is
implementing  the  scheme.  A  Technical  Committee  and  a   Monitoring   &
Supervision Committee have been constituted to  implement  the  project.  An
amount of around Rs 2.64 crores have been spent so far and works  are  under
3.1.3. In addition to the two  Monuments  at  Poa-Mecca,  Hajo  and  Urvarsi
Archaeological Site that were taken over by  the  Archaeological  Survey  of
India in 1919 and 1918 respectively, the Archaeological Survey of India  has
taken up another three Monuments  for  their  preservation  in  2005.  These
Monuments are the Hayagriva Madhava Temple, Hajo,  the  Kedar  Temple,  Hajo
and the Ganesh Temple, Hajo.
3.1.4. The Government  of  Assam  has  also  taken  up  the  development  of
Historical Monuments and Archaeological  Sites  in  Assam.  During  2009-10,
three Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites have been taken  up  for
Rs 2.00 crores and another 8 taken up for Rs 5.00 crores during 2010-11.  An
amount of Rs 5.00 crores has been provided during 2012-13 for taking up  the
development of more Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites in  Assam.
3.1.5.  The  Government  of  Assam  has  also  taken  up   the   protection,
preservation and development of Sattras  in  Assam.  During  2009-10,  three
Sattras were taken up for Rs  3.00  crores  and  during  2011-12,  Rs  10.00
crores was provided for the protection, preservation and development  of  87
Sattras in Assam. An amount of Rs 15.00  crores  has  been  provided  during
2012-13 for the protection, preservation and development of  85  Sattras  in
3.1.6.  The  Executive  Council  of  the  Jawaharlal  Nehru  University  has
approved the establishment of an Assamese Chair  in  the  Centre  of  Indian
Language, Literature and Culture Studies of the University in 2007.
3.4. CLAUSES 9.1 & 9.2
3.4.1. BORDER FENCING & BORDER ROADS The Indo-Bangladesh border with Assam has a length  of  267.30  km.
Out of this 223.068 km is the land border and 44.232 km are river  stretches
and other non-feasible gaps across the river border. Within 44.232  km,  the
Brahmaputra river has a stretch of 32.750 km in Dhubri District. Details  of
the river border areas is given in the Annexure-12.  Roads  and  Fences  are
erected only on land border and the length of 44.232 km is unfenced. Roads and Fences have been taken up for construction  on  the  land
border in three phases. In  the  Phase-I,  construction  of  new  roads  and
fencing was taken up in 1986 by Assam PWD and works completed  in  2003.  In
the Phase-II, construction of remaining new roads and fencing was  taken  up
by Assam PWD in 2000-01. Subsequently some  parts  of  this  Phase-II  works
were handed over to the National Building  Construction  Corporation  (NBCC)
by the Assam PWD. While Assam PWD has almost completed its  works,  that  of
NBCC are in progress. Under  the  Phase-III  reconstruction  of  the  fences
constructed in Phase-I was taken up  from  2006-07  through  NBCC  and  NPCC
(National Projects Construction Corporation). While NBCC has  completed  its
Phase-III assigned works, works of NPCC are in progress.    A  total of 228.118 km of new fencing was sanctioned under Phase-
I&II, out of which, based on field conditions, the  actual  required  length
was 224.694 km. Against  this  218.170  km  of  fencing  (97.1%)  has   been
completed. A stretch of 2.874  km  could  not  be  taken  up  at  Lathitila-
Dumabari  area Karimganj district due to an international dispute. Works  in
respect of 150 meters of fencing are  in  progress  with  Assam  PWD.  These
inter alia relate  to  approaches  of  two  bridges  and  are  targeted  for
completion within 31, December 2012. A length of 3.50 km in  Karimganj  Town
could not be taken up earlier as it was within 150 metres of the  Bangladesh
border. It has now been decided to take up single fencing  in  this  stretch
in Karimganj Town, for which actions have been initiated by the NBCC.  A total of 251.558 km of new roads were  sanctioned  under  Phase-
I&II, out of which, based on field conditions, the  actual  required  length
was 246.073 km.  Against  this  234.153  km  of  roads  (95.16%)  have  been
completed.  Assam PWD is yet to  complete  60  metres  of  roads,  which  is
targeted to be completed by 31st December 2012.  NBCC  is  yet  to  complete
11.86 km of roads out of which 3.50 km  relates  to  Karimganj  Town,  where
work is yet to be started, and 8.36 km relates to Masalabari area in  Dhubri
district where work is in progress and scheduled to be completed this  year.   A total of 144.961  km  of  reconstruction  Phase-I  fencing  was
sanctioned under Phase-III, out of  which  based  on  field  conditions  the
actual required length was 134.727 km. Against this 121.707 km (90.34%)  has
been completed. NBCC has completed all works assigned to it.  Works  are  in
progress in respect of 13.020 km  of  fencing  being  constructed  by  NPCC,
which are targeted to be completed by 31st March  2013.  The  Government  of
India has sanctioned the Phase-III of the  fencing  project,  entailing  the
use of concertina with double coil wire fencing  for  replacing  the  entire
fencing constructed under Phase- I.   Due to persistent efforts  from  Chief
Minister, Assam, phase II fencing  was  designed  to  be  double  row  where
concertina with double coil wire has  been  used  in  contrast  to  Phase  I
fencing which was only single row. A copy of the DO letter written by  Chief
Minister, Assam to Union Home Minister in 2004 is placed as annexure 13. The period-wise achievement in respect of Phase I & II  works  done
by Assam PWD since 1986 is given  in  annexure-14  and  works  done  by  all
agencies is at annexure- 15.  A  summary  of  the  works  done  by  all  the
agencies is given in the table below:
                Progress under Phase-I and Phase-II (Fencing)
                                                                    (in Kms)
|Phase|Sanctioned/|Actual    |Completed |Disputed  |Balan|
|     |Actual     |required  |          |          |ce   |
|     |Length     |          |          |          |     |
|Phase|150.55     |147.17    |144.3     |2.87      |0    |
|-I   |           |          |          |          |     |
|Phase|77.57      |77.52     |73.87     |0         |3.65 |
|-II  |           |          |          |          |     |
|Phase|228.12     |224.69    |218.17    |2.87      |3.65 |
|-I & |           |          |          |          |     |
|II   |           |          |          |          |     |
|Phase|144.96     |134.73    |121.71    |0         |13.02|
|-III |           |          |          |          |     |
|Fenci|           |          |          |          |     |
|ng   |           |          |          |          |     |   While Assam has almost completed its fencing project  under  phase
I and II with around 97% of the work having  been  completed,  the  work  in
other states bordering Bangladesh is lagging behind as indicated below:
|State |Total length of  |Total length of  |Percentage  |
|      |border fencing   |border fencing   |of          |
|      |sanctioned under |completed under  |completion  |
|      |Phase-I and      |Phase-I and      |            |
|      |Phase-II         |Phase-II         |            |
|West  |1528 km          |1222 km          |80%         |
|Bengal|                 |                 |            |
|Meghal|470.23 km        |380.06 km        |81%         |
|aya   |                 |                 |            |
|Tripur|856 km           |730.50 km        |85%         |
|a     |                 |                 |            |
|Mizora|352.32 km        |206.80 km        |59%         |
|m     |                 |                 |            |
|Assam |224.69 km        |218.17 km        |97%         | The total  unfenced  portion  of  the  Assam-Bangladesh  border  at
present is given in the table below:
                                    (In Km)
|1.|River stretches and other non-feasible    |44.23|     |
|  |gaps across the river border              |     |     |
|  |Unfenced River Border                     |     |44.23|
|2.|Phase-II fencing yet to be completed by   |3.65 |     |
|  |APWD & NBCC                               |     |     |
|3.|Disputed land in Lathila-Dumabari         |2.87 |     |
|4.|Earlier completed fence in Phase-I, now   |13.02|     |
|  |under reconstruction by NPCC and yet to be|     |     |
|  |completed                                 |     |     |
|5.|Unfenced Land Border:                     |     |19.55|
|  |Total unfenced length along               |     |63.79|
|  |Assam-Bangladesh Border:                  |     |     |
3.4.2. BORDER PATROLLING AND GUARDING  In order to  strengthen  border  domination  and  to  prevent  any
transborder crimes including infiltration and  exfiltration, after  2001  in
the Assam portion of the  Indo-Bangladesh  border  11  new  BOPs  have  been
established. More BSF troops have been deployed  and  water  wing  personnel
have been made active on duty round the clock in the riverine border  areas.
At present the BSF and the state police are doing joint  patrolling  of  the
borders. A total of 6 battalions of BSF are deployed  for  guarding  of  the
Indo-Bangladesh border (Assam portion).  There are 91 BOPs  at  present  and
the distance between two  BOPs  has  been  reduced)  Night  vision  devices,
thermal indicators and radar for better surveillance are being used  by  the
BSF at the border.  The state police are also having BOPs  for  providing  a
second line of defence. To  strengthen  the  Government  machinery  for  the
purpose of detection and deportation of foreigners, the Government of  India
has sanctioned 1,280 additional posts  in  different  ranks  under  the  PIF
Scheme. Including these 1,280 posts, the total sanctioned  strength  of  the
Assam Police Border Organisation is  4,002  police  personnel  in  different
RIVERINE AREAS  The actions taken for completing the fencing  of  the  land  border
have been detailed above. Initiative has also  been  taken  to  ensure  that
infiltration is prevented from the river stretches  and  other  non-feasible
gaps across the river border. With this end in view the  Governor  of  Assam
constituted a Committee vide the notification No. 1AA 56/2011/1  dated  12th
September 2011 to examine  and  recommend  ways  and  means  for  preventing
infiltration through the unprotected riverine areas in the  Assam-Bangladesh
border. The Committee visited the riverine border areas of  Dhubri  district
in October 2011 and the  riverine  border  areas  of  Karimganj  and  Cachar
districts in November 2011. During these visits extensive  discussions  were
held with BSF and other local  authorities.  Various  technical  options  of
preventing infiltration through such  riverine  areas  are  presently  being
3.4.4.   FLOOD LIGHTING To enable proper vigilance of the international border  during  the
night, action has been taken to provide floodlighting all along  the  Assam-
Bangladesh border.  Floodlighting works are being implemented  by  the  CPWD
in the Assam. These works are divided between the Guwahati  sector  and  the
Silchar sector and the total  length  comes  to  213.74  kms.  The  Guwahati
sector comprises a stretch of 37.60 km in Dhubri sub-sector and 43.44 km  in
Mancachar sub-sector. Work has started in  both  these  sub-sectors  and  is
scheduled to be completed  within  2012-13.  The  Silchar  sector  comprises
three sub-sectors. The works in respect of the first, from BP. No.  1338  to
1356 & 680635 for 40.50 km have started and are scheduled  to  be  completed
within 2012-13. Works in respect of the  remaining  two  sub-sectors  having
stretches of 46.70 km and 45.50 km are yet to be started and  are  scheduled
to be completed within 2013-14.
3.5. CLAUSE 10
3.5.1. Land administration in the Protected Belts and  Blocks  in  Assam  is
carried out as per provisions of Chapter X of the  Assam  land  and  Revenue
Regulation 1886 and Rules framed there under. Steps are  taken  for  removal
of encroachment on a continuous basis.
4.2.1. There has  been  a  substantial  increase  in  the  number  of  cases
detected during the last 11 years.  The disposal of cases also has  shown  a
significant increase during this time period. The following  table  provides
a comparative picture of the cases registered and disposed of by  Foreigners
Tribunal & IMDT:
                        FOREIGNERS' TRIBUNAL AND IMDT
|Period      |Cases referred          |Cases disposed of |
|1985-2000   |80252                   |43631             |
|2001 July   |140758                  |53452             |
|2012        |                        |                  |
4.2.2. It may be seen that the progress in 10 years time period  from  2001-
2012 far exceeds the progress made during the  15  years  time  period  from
1985 to 2000. Keeping in view that the  disposal  mechanism  is  a  judicial
process and also subject to judicial review, the disposal of cases  has  not
been able  to  keep  pace  with  the  number  of  cases  registered  in  the
Foreigners Tribunals. Therefore, there has been a large cumulative  pendency
of cases in the Tribunals  which  needs  to  be  addressed  through  special
4.3.1. In order to prevent infiltration  into  the  State  through  Riverine
Routes 4(four) River Police Stations and 7(seven)  River  Police  Out  Posts
have been set up under River Police Organization. In addition,  a  new  I.R.
Battalion for River Police has also been raised and steps  are  being  taken
to provide necessary equipments and training  to  this  riverine  battalion.
The Assam Police Border Organization has set  up  159  Watch  Posts  in  the
infiltration prone areas of 17 districts of Assam for detection  of  illegal
4.3.2. The ex-servicemen employed under  PIF  scheme  have  been  given  the
status of regular government servants  so  that  they  do  not  suffer  from
uncertainties of employment. Government has paid more than Rs 22  crores  as
arrears to these ex-servicemen deployed since 1988 during 2011-2012.
4.3.3. The number of Foreigner's Tribunals which was hovering between 4  and
11 from 1964 to 2005 increased to 36 Tribunals in 2009.  All  of  them  have
been made functional. Standard staffing pattern and service order  governing
service conditions of FT staff have been notified.  Proposal  for  providing
additional staff depending on workload is submitted  to  MHA  for  approval.
Power of appointment of vacant staff position has been delegated  to  Member
FT based on a transparent selection process by  a  board  headed  by  Deputy
4.3.4. New terms and conditions have been issued for appointment of  Members
so as to make the service conditions attractive. The  upper  age  limit  has
been  relaxed  from  65  to  67  years,  remuneration  has  been  made  more
attractive besides providing other amenities  like  vehicle,  orderly  peons
etc. This has led to significant reduction in vacancy position  of  Judicial
members of Foreigners Tribunals - 33  members  are  in  place  and  other  4
applications are in process to achieve 100 % occupancy.  It  is  noted  that
till  February  2011  there  were  as  many  as  13  vacancies  of  Members,
Foreigners  Tribunal.  The  Government  of  Assam  has   also   received   7
nominations from the registrars of the High Courts of  other  states  and  3
members have been appointed so far  from  outside  the  state.  There  is  a
paucity of suitable judicial officers in the  State  and  all  efforts  have
been made to fill  up  all  the  posts  of  members.  This  is  the  biggest
impediment to our efforts in increasing the number of tribunals.
4.3.5. Office infrastructure of Foreigners Tribunals has  been  improved  by
providing  computers,  printers:  telephone,  fax,  photocopiers  etc.   The
Government of Assam is making every effort to overcome  the  constraints  of
inadequate infrastructure including office  space  for  all  the  Foreigners
                                                                ANNEXURE - 5
Copy of Letter NO.PLB.171164/34 dated Shillong, 25th June,  1966  from  Shri
S.P.  Hazarika,  A.C.S.,  Deputy  Secretary  to  the  Government  of  Assam,
Political Department, to the Inspector General of Police, Assam, Shillong.
Subject: Procedure for deportation of Pak infiltrants
 I am directed to say that a review of the latest  position  of  deportation
of Pak infiltrants shows that  the total number of Pakistani infiltrants  in
our State as determined by the Registrar  General  of  Census  In  1961  was
2,20,691. It appears that since  1961  till  31-5-66,  2,15,794  infiltrants
have been detected and notices for deportation were  served  or  prosecution
was started against  2,15,355.  Out  of  these,  according  to  the  figures
confirmed by the Check Posts, 1,43,438 have already left the country.  About
28,999 of the remaining  number  on  whom  notices  have  been  served  have
preferred appeal. It may also be assumed that about 25,000 persons  on  whom
deportation notices were served have left by routes other than by the  check
posts.   The number  of infiltrants who have  been  detected  but  have  not
left the country would come to  about   40,000  plus  the  number  resulting
from natural increase, new infiltration and re-entry of deported  the  total
number of Pakistani infiltrants on the basis of 1961 census who are  yet  to
be detected comes to about 5,000 or so. To this we have to  add  the  number
resulting from the natural increase during this period,  fresh  infiltration
and re-entry of some deported persons. But the total number of  such  people
should not be many. Therefore,  the  number  of  cases  to  be  detected  is
gradually decreasing. Now, more and more marginal cases would  be  detected.
Therefore, time has come when we have to be more careful in deportation.
In the light of the above background, Govt.  think  that  from  now  onward,
each and every case of deportation should receive the cases where  there  is
slightest doubt, no deportation notice should be reserved,  but  prosecution
should be started in Court of law and deportation notices should  be  served
on the basis of the judgment in the court of law. The  following  categories
of cases, however, would be warrant service of deportation  notices  without
reference to Court:-
(1) A person with Pak passport overstaying illegally in India;
(2) A person already deported but has re-entered India illegally; and
 (3) A new infiltrant entering India.
In these categories of cases,  after  service  of  deportation  notice,  the
present procedure of Tribunal will follow.
You are, therefore, requested to issue necessary instructions of the  points
mentioned above to all  concerned  under  intimation  to  Government.  These
instructions are intended to  make  our  officers  cautions  the  matter  of
detection and  deportation  and  should  not  be  interpreted  to  mean  any
relaxation  in  the  matter  of  vigilance,  detection  and  deportation  of
Pakistani infiltrants.
MemoNo.PA(VII)/62/200     Dated,   Shillong    the    29th    June,    1966.
Copy to Shri H.K. Bhattacharyya, IPS (AIl  G/Ss.  P)  for  information
and necessary action.
                                                                 B.K. Barua,
                                         Inspector General of Police, Assam.
39.   It will be seen that the number of tribunals set up is  abysmally  low
resulting in an abysmally low number of decisions by these tribunals.   What
is interesting  to  know  is  that  whereas  almost  1,50,000  persons  were
deported between 1961 to 1965 under  The  Immigrants  (Expulsion  of  Assam)
Act, 1950, the  number  of deportations from 1985 till date is stated to  be
a mere 2,000 odd. Even these deportees are mostly if not  all  "push  backs"
which results in the same deportees coming  back  post  deportation  from  a
border which is completely porous.
40.   It will be seen that the Assam portion of the border  with  Bangladesh
is 267 Kms. Out of which 44 Kms. are riverine. We are  given  to  understand
that the entire border between India and Bangladesh  is  roughly  4000  Kms.
The White Paper shows that large portions of the border with Assam  are  yet
to be fenced with double coil wire fencing, making the border an easy  place
to cross.  Also, we are given to understand that most parts  of  the  border
with West Bengal and other North-Eastern States are  also  porous  and  very
easy to cross.
41.   We are at loss to understand  why  67  years  after  independence  the
Eastern border is left porous.  We have  been  reliably  informed  that  the
entire Western border with Pakistan  being  3300  Kms.  long,  is  not  only
properly fenced but properly manned as well and is not porous at any  point.
42.   In the light of  the  above,  we  have  considered  the  necessity  of
issuing appropriate directions to the Union of India and the State of  Assam
to ensure that effective steps are taken to prevent illegal  access  to  the
country from Bangladesh; to detect foreigners belonging  to  the  stream  of
1.1.1966 to 24.3.1971 so as to give effect  to  the  provisions  of  Section
6(3) & (4) of the Citizenship Act and  to  detect  and  deport  all  illegal
migrants who have come  to  the  State  of  Assam  after  25.3.1971.  Before
issuing any such directions, we had thought it proper to require  the  Union
as well as the State of Assam to  state,  on  affidavits,  their  respective
stands in the matter and also their suggestions, if any.  Both the Union  as
well as the State of Assam have responded  by  filing  affidavits  sworn  by
duly authorized officials. We have taken note of the contents  of  the  said
affidavits which disclose that both the Union and the State are  broadly  in
agreement in respect of the steps that are required to be taken as  well  as
the action taken till date and further the measures that are required to  be
taken in the future. It will be appropriate if the relevant contents of  the
affidavit filed by the Union are extracted below.
"5(VIII).  Effective  Border  guarding  to   check   and   control   illegal
(i)     Intensive 24x7 patrolling  by  the  Border  Security  Force    (BSF)
along the Indo-Bangladesh border.
(ii)        Identification of  vulnerable  patches/routes  by  15th  January
2015 from where  Bangladeshi  nationals  are  managing  to  enter  into  the
country illegally. After identification of these vulnerable  patches/routes,
security and vigilance will  be  strengthened  at  these  points  along  the
identified routes used for illegal infiltration.
(iii) Persons who are intercepted at the international border will  be  sent
back then and there to Bangladesh.
(iv)        Illegal infiltrators will be interrogated by  the  State  Police
in the presence of  BSF  personnel  who  have  managed  to  enter  into  the
territory of the country for identification of routes  they  had  taken  for
entering into the country. Security will be  further  strengthened  on  such
routes/areas. BSF personnel,  if  any,  found  to  be  involved  in  helping
illegal infiltrators for crossing international border will be  punished  as
per law-. BSF will keep close vigil on the international border through  its
intelligence branch with immediate effect.
(v)   Besides, intelligence  agencies  will  be  geared  up  with  immediate
effect for keeping close vigil  along  the  international  border  and  also
reporting  to  the  concerned   authorities   including   BSF   on   illegal
(vi)  Border fencing: A project worth Rs.6337 crore has been sanctioned  for
fencing 3326 km of Indo-Bangladesh border including restoration  of  damaged
fence (total length 4096.7 km of the border of  which  2980.7  km.  is  land
border and 1116 km. is riverine border [the length of riverine border  keeps
varying from season to season]). Out of 3326 Km, fencing has been  completed
in 2828 km. Construction work of fencing is in progress in 78.80  km.  which
is likely to be completed by May 2016. In 102.4 km fencing is  not  feasible
due  to  low-lying/difficult  hilly  terrain.  Work  in  24.2   km   is   at
estimate/revised estimate stage. Due to boundary issues which are yet to  be
resolved between India and Bangladesh in  19  km,  construction  of  fencing
could not be completed. Action has been initiated to  resolve  the  boundary
issues with Bangladesh. Fencing work cannot be started  in  188  km  due  to
delay in land acquisition by the concerned State Governments of Tripura  (11
Km.), West Bengal (86 Km.) and Assam (3.5 Km.). In case of  Meghalaya  State
earlier the issue  of  pending  land  acquisition  was  for  about  135  km.
However, due to constant persuasion by the Ministry of Home  Affair  at  the
highest level, the matter was partially resolved and  fencing  is  completed
in  such  stretches  except  for  23.63  km.  in  which  work  in  progress.
Presently, the land acquisition is pending for about 87.5 km. in  Meghalaya.
The Matter has been taken  up  with  the  State  Governments  of  Meghalaya,
Tripura,  West  Bengal  and  Assam  for  early  acquisition  of   land   for
construction of fencing at various levels. Matter is being followed up  with
them regularly. Besides, environmental/ forest clearance  is  also  required
for erection of fencing in 61.6 km. areas falling in  Dampa  Tiger  Reserve,
Mizoram. The matter was discussed in the National Board of  Wildlife  (NBWL)
meeting held on 12th August, 2014. The  NBWL  had  recommended  the  project
with certain conditions. Action has been initiated  for  compliance  of  the
conditions imposed by the NBWL. Public protest is continuing  in  24  km  by
the people of Meghalaya opposing the construction of  fencing  along  India-
Bangladesh border. The State of Meghalaya has been requested to resolve  the
issue expeditiously. It may be mentioned that where construction of  fencing
work is in progress or fencing is to  be  constructed  in  future,  in  such
areas the  presence  of  BSF  will  be  increased  to  ensure  that  illegal
Bangladeshi  nationals   may   not   sneak   into   the   Indian   territory
(vii)   Construction of roads: To facilitate proper patrolling  by  the  BSF
along Indo-Bangladesh border, a project for construction of  road  has  been
undertaken. Construction of 4379 km length  of  road  along  Indo-Bangladesh
border has been sanctioned. Out of which 3769.9  km  construction  work  has
been completed and work is in progress in 160.23 km which is  likely  to  be
completed by May 2016. In 222.07 km construction work is  not  feasible  due
to hilly terrain/low-lying areas. Work in 52.153 km is  at  estimate/revised
estimate stage. In 174.65 km work cannot be started due to  various  reasons
mainly delay in land acquisition by the State Governments concerned.  Matter
has been taken up with the State Governments  of  Meghalaya,  Tripura,  West
Bengal and Assam for early acquisition of land for  construction  of  roads.
Matter is being followed up with them regularly.
(viii) Installation of Flood lights along Indo-Bangladesh  border:  Further,
a project worth Rs. 1327 crore for installation of flood  lights  along  the
border to keep close vigil at night has been started in 2840 km along  Indo-
Bangladesh border areas. Work has been completed in 1874  kms.  Work  is  in
progress  in  330  km.  which  is  likely  to  be  completed  by  May  2016.
Installation of flood lights is not feasible in 219.4 km  due  to  low-lying
area/difficult hilly terrain. It may be mentioned that the flood lights  can
be installed only after construction of fence and roads  along  the  border.
Therefore, the work of floodlights in about 416.6 km. could not  be  started
due to pending fence work. As stated above, the matter  has  been  taken  up
with the State Governments of Meghalaya, Tripura, West Bengal and Assam  for
early acquisition of land. Matter is being followed up with them regularly.
(ix)  Initially, 802 Border  Out  Posts  (BOPs)  were  set  up  along  Indo-
Bangladesh border for effective guarding of the border. In order  to  reduce
the gap between the two BOPs, 383 additional BOPs have been sanctioned.  Out
of these, 65 BOPs have been established. Work is going on in 78  BOPs  which
is targeted to be completed by December, 2016. For the remaining BOPs,  work
can be started only after the acquisition of land by the  State  Governments
concerned.  Matter  has  been  taken  up  with  the  State  Governments   of
Meghalaya, Tripura, West Bengal and Assam for early acquisition of land  for
construction of BOPs. Matter is being followed up with them regularly.
(x)   BSF has deployed  28  numbers  of  speed  boats  (single  engine),  40
numbers of rigid inflatable speed boats, 48  numbers  of  aluminium  country
boats, 2 double engine speed boats, 58 engine  fitted  country  boats  along
Indo-Bangladesh border (Assam sector) for guarding  of  riverine  areas.  In
order  to  make  effective  guarding  of   riverine   international   border
additional 10 double engine speed boats and five 20  meters  medium  vessels
will be procured within six to 12 months.  Effective  guarding  of  riverine
areas in other sectors are also being done by the BSF.
(xi)    It may be mentioned that the  timelines  indicated  above,  for  the
border infrastructure works, are tentative in nature  and  the  targets  are
subject to the condition that the "in-progress" works are  not  stalled  due
to the unforeseen situations  like  floods,  land-slides,  public  protests,
litigations, etc. Further, it is stated that the  sanctioned  and  completed
status of the border infrastructure mentioned in  paras  (vi)  to  (ix)  are
dynamic in nature due to  the  difficult  terrain  along  the  border  areas
coupled with floods, land-slide, breach in fence, etc.
(xii)   Regular village co-ordination meetings are being  organised  by  the
field commanders  of  BSF  to  sensitise  the  border  population.  Further,
effective action will be taken for sensitising the  villagers  living  along
the border areas, particularly in  case  any  new  person  is  seen  in  the
village, they should report the matter to the local police chowki.  Besides,
village defence parties shall also be activated within one month  along  the
international border to keep close vigil in this regard who will  report  to
the local Police Stations.
(xiii)  3153 Security  personnel  provided  to  the  State  of  Assam  under
Prevention of Infiltration of Foreigners (PIF) scheme to act as second  line
of defence and assist  the  BSF  to  check  the  illegal  infiltration  from
Bangladesh. The State of Assam will be advised to use  and  deploy  the  PIF
personnel to act effectively with immediate effect.
(xiv)  4 additional battalions of BSF will be raised in the  next  financial
year 2015-16 for deployment along the international Indo Bangladesh  border.
Out of 4 BSF battalions, one each will  be  deployed  along  Indo-Bangladesh
border (Assam sector and West Bengal  sector),  remaining  two  will  be  as
training battalions."
43.   In addition to what has  been  extracted  above,  the  Union,  in  the
affidavit filed, has also stated  that  for  the  purpose  of  detection  of
illegal migrants 500 police units/task force will be activated in the  State
within one month.
44.   The affidavit of the Union also indicates that in addition to  the  36
Foreigners Tribunals which are claimed to be functioning  in  the  State  of
Assam, 64 additional Tribunals have been  sanctioned  in  June,  2013.   The
affidavit of the State of  Assam  indicates  that  steps  are  underway  for
making the aforesaid Tribunals functional.
45.  Insofar as the mechanism of deportation of illegal migrants after  they
are detected to be illegal  migrants  is  concerned,  paragraph  25  of  the
affidavit of the Union which deals with the said aspect of  the  matter  may
also be noticed:
"25. It is submitted that the existing mechanism/procedure for  verification
of nationality inter alia include that State Government provides details  of
declared person in  a  prescribed  format  indicating  full  details/contact
address  in  Bangladesh  including  photographs  to  the  Ministry  of  Home
Affairs. Such cases received from the State Government are referred  to  the
Ministry of External Affairs for taking up the  matter  of  verification  of
nationality with Bangladesh  authorities  through  diplomatic  channel.  The
Ministry of External Affairs refers such cases  to  Bangladesh  authorities.
Such cases are investigated by the Bangladesh Home Ministry  and  they  send
their report to Bangladesh Foreign Ministry. In turn  they  intimate  Indian
Ministry of External Affairs about the nationality  verification  or  status
of such persons. If some of the cases are not confirmed  by  them,  in  that
event we  request  the  Bangladesh  authorities  from  the  Bangladesh  High
Commission or Deputy High Commissions in Kolkata or Mumbai, as the case  may
be, to avail of consular access for interaction with such detained  persons.
The Bangladesh authorities depute their representative for interaction  with
such persons who are detained in detention centres/jails.  If  such  persons
disclose their  addresses  in  the  Bangladesh  then  their  nationality  is
confirmed. Some of them still claim that they are Indian  nationals  and  in
that event Bangladesh authorities are unable to confirm/nationality of  such
persons.  Persons  whose  nationalities  are  confirmed  by  the  Bangladesh
authorities, are repatriated to  Bangladesh  immediately.  It  is  mentioned
that many of the declared illegal migrants do not  disclose  their  address,
contacts of their relatives in Bangladesh. In such cases,  it  becomes  very
difficult for Bangladesh authorities  for  verification  of  nationality  of
these persons. In the current years nationality of 32 Bangladeshi  nationals
who were in the detention centres/jails  in  Assam  were  confirmed  by  the
Bangladesh authorities and they have been repatriated."
46.   On an overall consideration of the immediate dimensions of the  issues
and the potential that the same have for the future we issue  the  following
directions under Article 142 of the Constitution of India.
           I.   Border fencing, Border Roads and provision for flood lights
            The Union will take all effective steps to complete the  fencing
(double coiled wire fencing)  in  such  parts/portions  of  the  Indo-Bangla
border (including the State of Assam) where presently the fencing is yet  to
be completed.  The vigil along the riverine  boundary  will  be  effectively
maintained by continuous patrolling.  Such part of the international  border
which has been perceived to be inhospitable  on  account  of  the  difficult
terrain will be patrolled and monitored  at  vulnerable  points  that  could
provide  means  of   illegal   entry.    Motorable   roads   alongside   the
international border, wherever incomplete or have not yet been  built,  will
be laid so as to enable effective and intensive  patrolling.  Flood  lights,
wherever required, will also  be  provided  while  maintaining  the  present
arrangements. The completed part of the border fencing  will  be  maintained
and repaired so as to  constitute  an  effective  barrier  to  cross  border
            The progress achieved at the end  of  3  months  from  today  as
against the position on the ground mentioned in the affidavit of  the  Union
extracted above will be monitored by this Court and, depending  on  what  is
revealed upon such monitoring, further directions including a definite  time
schedule for completion of the works  relating  to  border  fencing,  border
roads and flood lights may be made by this Court.
           II.   Foreigners Tribunals
            The Gauhati High Court is requested to expedite and to  finalise
the process of selection of the Chairperson and Members  of  the  Foreigners
Tribunals, if required in phases, depending on the availability of  officers
opting to serve in the Tribunals.  Within 60(sixty) days  of  the  selection
being finalized by the Gauhati High Court, the State of  Assam  will  ensure
that the concerned Foreigners Tribunal become operational.
            The Chief Justice of the Gauhati  High  Court  is  requested  to
monitor the functioning of the Tribunals by  constituting  a  Special  Bench
which will sit at least once every month to oversee the functioning  of  the
          III.   Existing  Mechanism  of  Deportation  of  Declared  Illegal
            While  taking  note  of  the  existing  mechanism/procedure  for
deportation keeping in view the requirements of international  protocol,  we
direct the Union of India to  enter  into  necessary  discussions  with  the
Government of Bangladesh to streamline the procedure  of  deportation.   The
result of the said exercise be laid  before  the  Court  on  the  next  date
47.   The implementation of the aforesaid directions will  be  monitored  by
this Court on the expiry of three  months  from  today.   In  the  event  it
becomes  so  necessary,  the  Court  will  entrust  such  monitoring  to  be
undertaken by an empowered committee  which  will  be  constituted  by  this
Court, if and when required.
48.   Insofar as Writ Petition (C) No. 274/2009 is concerned, we are of  the
view that on and from the date of this judgment the following time  schedule
should govern the work of updating of the NRC in Assam so  that  the  entire
updated NRC is published by the end of January, 2016.
1.     Preparatory  work  such  as  selection  of  vendor   system   (system
integrator); development by system  integrator;  appointment  of  staff  and
training etc. has already been directed  to  be  completed  by  the  end  of
January 2015 by order dated  27.11.2014 of the Court.
2.    The remaining work of  updating  the  NRC  will  now  conform  to  the
following time schedule which will be strictly adhered to.
|Sl. |Task                |Period in |Start         |End             |
|No. |                    |Months    |              |                |
|1.  |Publication of      |          |              |                |
|    |Records-Search/looki|1         |February, 2015|February, 2015  |
|    |ng up of linkage by |          |              |                |
|    |public              |          |              |                |
|2.  |Receipt of          |3         |March, 2015   |May, 2015       |
|    |applications        |          |              |                |
|3.  |Verification        |4         |June, 2015    |September, 2015 |
|4.  |Draft Publication   |          |1st October,  |                |
|    |                    |          |2015          |                |
|5.  |Receipt of Claims & |1         |October, 2015 |October, 2015   |
|    |Objections          |          |              |                |
|6.  |Disposal of Claims &|2         |November, 2015|December, 2015  |
|    |Objections          |          |              |                |
|7.  |Finalization of     |          |1st January,  |                |
|    |final updated NRC   |          |2016          |                |
|    |Total Time Period in|11        |              |                |
|    |Months              |          |              |                |
49.   All the cases be listed in the last week of March, 2015 to  take  note
of the progress of implementation of the above directions.
                                                (Ranjan Gogoi)
                                          (R.F. Nariman)
New Delhi;
December 17, 2014.