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SC: Certificate by Panchayat or Executive Magistrate is not valid proof of Citizenship

December 6,2017:

Apex Court stated that,”Certificate will be put to such limited use only if contents of Certificate are found to be established on due and proper enquiry and the verification”.

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

On Tuesday, Supreme Court expounded that the certificates issued by the Gram Panchayat Secretary or Executive Magistrate could be considered valid ID proof for deciding citizenship of an Assam resident if link between claimant and legacy person (who has to be a citizen) is established.

SC Bench comprising of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman, while setting aside Gauhati HC’s order that such certificates could not be relied upon by Government Authority while preparing National Register of Citizens (NRC) for State, such documents were valid if it was approved by Centre and State Government.

Supreme Court further added that Certificate had to be verified at two stages, firstly authenticity of Certificate itself, and secondly authenticity of contents thereof. Process of the verification was bound to be an exhaustive process, in course of which source of facts and all the other details recorded in certificate would be ascertained after giving an opportunity to holder of certificate.

Bench stated that,”Certificate issued by Gram Panchayat Secretary merely acknowledges shifting of the residence of a married woman from one village to another. Said certificate by itself and by no means establishes any claim of the citizenship of holder of certificate.

Certificate in question only enables its holder to establish the link between holder and person from whom the legacy is claimed.

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