Court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Mumbai held that Voter ID can be sufficient proof of citizenship because of form 6 of Representation of Peoples’ Act

Voter ID

In present case,[1] the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Esplanade Court in Mumbai in the judgment delivered on 11th February 2020 held that voters-id proof is sufficient to prove citizenship. It further acquitted two persons who were accused as “Bangladeshi Infiltrators.”

Brief facts:

In this case, three peoples of age, between 30  to 45 years, accused by the informant ‘the State’ for breach of condition, of Rule 3 punishable under Rule 6 of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, and under Para 3(1) of the Foreigners Order, 1948 punishable U/Sec. 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

In this case, the complainant is head constable attached to ‘I’ Branch of SB­1, CID, Mumbai as Police Head Constable. On 11th March 2017, API of that police station received the information about some Bangladeshi infiltrators being residing illegally at Ray Road, Mumbai. On the basis of that information, police conducted raid and arrested the accused. As per prosecution, on inquiring they admitted that they are Bangladeshi national. Accordingly, report was lodged by first informant.

After investigation by API Panduran Khillari, accused persons were formally arrested under arrest panchnama. Show Cause Notices were issued to accused persons by DCP of ‘I’ Branch. Upon completion of investigation I. O. found sufficient evidence against accused persons and therefore, he filed charge­sheet against them. These charges were read to the accused, to which they pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried.

The Statement of Accused U/sec. 313 of Cr. P. C. is recorded. Accused have filed original documents on record to establish their nationality. It is their defense that they are Indian Citizens. They also relied upon documentary evidence.

Issues before the court:

1. Whether prosecution proved that, on or before 01/03/2017 at about 00.45 hrs., accused Nos. 2 and 3 along with absconding accused no. 1 were found being Bangladeshi Nationals entered into India, particularly in Mumbai without possessing valid passport or travel documents and thereby committed breach of condition Under Rule 3 punishable under Rule 6 of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950?

2. Whether accused 1, 2 and 3 are punishable Under Para 3(1) of the Foreigners Orders, 1948 punishable U/Sec. 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946?

Judgment of the court:

His Lordship  answered both issues in negative and thus acquitted accused, on the basis of the following reasoning:

After examining prosecution witness, the court looked at the documents produced by the accused. The accused No.2 has filed his Aadhar Card, PAN Card, Election Card, Passbook, Health Card and Ration Card. It is pertinent to note Aadhar Card, PAN card, Election Card and Ration Card are the documents issued by the public authority and the same can be termed as public document. Accused no. 3 has filed her Aadhar Card, Pan Card and Election Card. All these documents are the public documents and thus admissible as evidence.

The court further noted that:

“It is necessary to note that the aadhar card, PAN card, driving license or ration card cannot be termed as the documents proving the citizenship of any person in a sufficient manner as said documents are not meant for the purpose of citizenship.”

“The birth certificate, domicile certificate, bonafide certificate, passport etc, can be relied upon to establish the origin of any person. Even the election card can be said to be sufficient proof of citizenship as while applying for the election card or voting card, a person has to file declaration with the authority in view of form 6 of Peoples Representation Act to the authority that he is citizen of India…..To, my mind such declaration is sufficient to prove the citizenship unless contrary is proved by the prosecution.”

On the basis of above finding, the Court held that prosecution has failed to establish charges levied against accused 2 and 3 and thus prosecution fails. Accordingly it answer issues 1 and 2 is negative and acquitted accused 2 and accused 3.

The reason that accused 1 reported to be absconded, the separate charge­sheet be filed against accused No.1.

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Reference

[1]https://drive.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=https://www.livelaw.in/pdf_upload/pdf_upload-370461.pdf

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