Aadhaar Card Is Not Proof Of Citizenship: Calcutta HC

Relying on the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 he submits that issuance of Aadhaar Card cannot be treated to be a proof of citizenship. Learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner, however, submits that the Aadhaar Card was issued in view of long residence of the petitioner in the country.

CALCUTTA HIGH COURT

In the matter of : An application under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure filed on 02.09.2016 in connection with Basirhat Police Station Case No. 974 of 2016 dated 23.08.2016 under Section 14F of the Indian Foreigners Act.
CRM 7148 of 2016   D/d 30.11.2016

In Re : Rani Mistri .....petitioner

Mr. Tapan Dutta Gupta,
Mr. Manoranjan Mahato ....... for the petitioner
versus
Mr. Pawan Gupta  ....... for the State
Calcutta High Court, West Bengal Judgments

Order
I have considered the materials on record including the report filed on behalf of the investigating agency. Let this report be kept with record. It appears from the report that the petitioner is in possession of an Aadhaar Card and relying thereon he claims citizenship in his favour.
Reliance has also been placed on a placed residence certificate issued by a representative of the local body. Learned Counsel for the State produces the Case Diary. Relying on the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 he submits that issuance of Aadhaar Card cannot be treated to be a proof of citizenship. Learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner, however, submits that the Aadhaar Card was issued in view of long residence of the petitioner in the country.
I have heard the submissions of the parties. I am unable to accept the contentions of the petitioner. Section 9 of the said Act reads as follows :
“9. The Aadhaar number or the authentication thereof shall not, by itself, confer any right of, or be proof of, citizenship or domicile in respect of an Aadhaar number holder.” In view of the aforesaid provision, it is clear that the said Aadhaar Card by itself shall not confer any right of or be proof of, citizenship or domicile in respect of the holder thereto. Apart from the said Card, the letter issued by the representative of the local body as to the residence of the petitioner also does not, ipso facto, confer citizenship on the petitioner. Under such circumstances, I am unable to rely on the aforesaid documents as prima facie proof of citizenship in favour of the petitioner. On the other hand, there are materials collected during investigation which prima facie shows that the petitioner is a foreign national. Under the aforesaid backdrop, I am not inclined to grant bail to the petitioner at this stage. Accordingly, prayer for bail is, thus, rejected. I find that the investigation is complete. Accordingly, I direct the learned Trial Court to proceed with the trial in the instant case with expedite and conclude the same as early as possible preferably within a year from the date of communication of this order. The observations made by me are for disposal of the instant application and shall not have any binding effect in course of trial.
(Joymalya Bagchi, J.)
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