“I appeal to all the Hindu people of both the Barak Valley as well as the Assam Valley to come together to find an amicable solution because our culture, traditions and religions are same. We should not hate each other just on the basis of language.”
-S.R. Sen, J.
Meghalaya High Court: While disposing of a writ petition concerning the difficulties faced by the residents to get Domicile Certificate (DC) and Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC), A Single Judge Bench comprising of S.R. Sen, J. opined that “National Register of Citizens (NRC) process is defective as many foreigners became Indians and original Indians were left out.” The “horrific conditions” in Detention Camps where NRC non-qualifiers are sent also found mention in the judgment.
While dealing with the matter, the learned Judge laid focus on the plight of migrants in the State of Assam. He called out the history of formation of the State and the unfortunate partition and it’s after effects on the society. Detailing the change of territories after partition and reposing confidence in idea of India the Judge mentioned, “Pakistan declared themselves as an Islamic country and India since was divided on the basis of religion should have also been declared as a Hindu country but it remained as a secular country.” In later part of his judgment, the Judge further mentions, “I make it clear that nobody should try to make India as another Islamic country, otherwise it will be a dooms day for India and the world.”
He also requested the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Law Minister and the Members of Parliament to “bring a law to allow the Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhist, Christians, Parsis, Khasis, Jainitias and Garos who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to live in this country peacefully and with full dignity without making any cut off year and be given citizenship without any question or production of any documents.”
In the same stroke the Judge made clear that, “However am not against my Muslim brothers and sisters who are residing in India for generations and abiding Indian laws, they should also be allowed to live peacefully.”
Highlighting the need of a uniform law, he said, “Anybody opposing the Indian Laws and constitution, they cannot be considered as citizens of the country. We must remember that first, we are Indians, then good human beings and thereafter comes the community we belong.”
In the instant case, the petitioner was a resident of Shillong for the last three generations and applied for domicile certificate, but it took ten months to get the domicile certificate only after the intervention of the High Court. Notifications issued by the Meghalaya Government were also brought to notice to the Court according to which for issuing of PRC, a person may be deemed to be a permanent resident if he continuously resides in the same place for not less than 12 years. This was in contravention of the guidelines passed by the Supreme Court and the High Court in earlier cases. Setting aside the notifications and following the case of Rabbe Alam v. State of Meghalaya, 2016 SCC OnLine Megh 301, the Court held that:
(i)a person residing in the State of Meghalaya permanently or at least for the last five years has got every right to apply for the domicile certificate; (ii) a person coming on transfer to serve the State can apply for DC prior to 5 years; (iii) a person residing permanently in the State of Meghalaya for the last 12 years and has an intention to reside permanently, he should be granted PRC without any further questions; (iv) DC or PRC is granted for all purposes.
The matter was disposed of with above observations and directions. [Amon Rana v. State of Meghalaya, 2018 SCC OnLine Megh 274, decided on 10-12-2018]