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Court order on 'foreigner'

Guwahati: A person declared a "foreigner" by a Foreigners' Tribunal (FT) has put the blame on his counsel for the tribunal's order going against him.

Challenging the order in Gauhati High Court, Rasamay Das told the court that the advocate he had engaged in the tribunal did not file a written statement at the tribunal because of which he had to face an adverse order.

Das was declared a "foreigner" by the FT number 4 at Silchar in Cachar district on November 2, 2017, in connection with case No. 70/2017.

His counsel in Gauhati High Court, B. Purkayastha, submitted before the high court that the petitioner had handed over all the documents to an advocate he had engaged to argue his case at the tribunal, but that advocate did not file the written statement because of which the petitioner had to face an adverse order.

Taking note of that, the high court asked Das to file a complaint with the Bar Council against that advocate.

"It is true that for the mistake of an advocate or because of alleged misconduct of the advocate concerned, a litigant should not suffer. But at the same time, we feel that since the petitioner was prejudiced because of the alleged misconduct of the advocate, it is necessary that some steps be taken by the petitioner against the erring advocate, for whose alleged misconduct, he went unrepresented before the tribunal, leading to passing of the adverse order," a division bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Rumi Kumari Phukan said.

"In view of above, we set aside the (tribunal) order dated November 2, 2017. The petitioner shall lodge a complaint against the advocate before the Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, acknowledgement of which shall be presented before the tribunal, on appearance. The petitioner shall appear before the FT at Silchar in connection with the case along with his written statement and acknowledgement of the complaint on July 12, 2018. Thereafter, the tribunal shall proceed with the reference in accordance with law and conclude the same within a period of 60 days from the date of appearance," the high court said.

"Before parting with the record, we make it clear that we have not expressed any opinion on the merit of the case," the bench added.

It was alleged that Das, in his mid-50s, had illegally entered India (Assam) from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971. He currently resides in Cachar district in Barak Valley.

Das had filed several petitions before the tribunal seeking time to file written statement, which was allowed but no written statement was filed. Ultimately, he also stopped appearing before the tribunal. In such circumstances, the tribunal decided to proceed with the reference and passed the order in favour of the state.

Opinion

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