Guwahati, Jan. 6: Gauhati High Court has asked Assam police to constitute a separate cell of policemen for each foreigners tribunal to serve notices to suspected illegal migrants.
In an order passed on January 3, a copy of which has been made available to The Telegraph, the court ordered the constitution of a separate cell of police personnel for each of the tribunals, within one month from the date of passing of the order.
The full bench of Justices B.P. Katakey, A.K. Goswami and Ujjal Bhuyan, which passed the order, categorically mentioned that these policemen “shall be entrusted with the job of service of notice only”.
“They shall be placed at the disposal and control of the presiding officers of the respective tribunals,” the order said.
The high court passed the directive after it observed that adequate number of support staff has not been provided to the tribunals. “There is no separate serving staff attached to the tribunals. The notices are served through the police, who are also not at all trained in the manner in which the notices are required to be served,” the order said, highlighting the need for having dedicated policemen for serving notices.
The bench passed the order in connection with a review petition (number 22/2010) filed by the Assam government challenging an order passed by a division bench of the court in August 2010. The state government had challenged the division bench order declaring one Moslem Mondal and his family members as Indian citizens, who were claimed to be illegal migrants.
The court also made the observation that the presiding officers of the tribunals as well as existing staff were not properly trained. “Provide adequate additional supporting staff to the tribunals where unregistered reference proceedings are pending, within two months from today, so that such proceedings can be registered and notices could be issued, as required by law,” the order said.
The high court also directed Dispur to formulate training modules to train officers as well as the staff within one month from the date of issuing the order. Altogether 2,37,631 cases are pending in 36 foreigners tribunals as on June 30, 2012. The average yearly disposal of cases by a tribunal is about 3,000 cases.
Dispur had informed the court that it had requested the Centre vide communication dated September 11, 2012, for constitution of 64 new tribunals, but no such new tribunals have been constituted so far. “As on June 30, 2012, 76,795 cases are pending before different tribunals for registration, which is largely because of lack of sufficient staff and/or proper training,” the order said.
“In regard to the constitutional requirement of speedy trial and quality disposal of proceedings before the tribunals, this court directs the Centre and state government to constitute an adequate number of tribunals within four months for disposal of the pending proceedings,” the order said.