Process Flaws and Lack of Legal Defence
In the report published by the activist Harsh Mander, he reveals information which would bring shivers down the spine
The Mission by Harsh Mander, it is found that the fate of an overwhelming majority of persons who were deemed to be foreigners and were detained in detention camps was on the basis of ex-parte orders by the Tribunals; moreover most lacked any kind of legal representation. Even the Deputy Commissioner we spoke to said that every time he visits the detention centre, the detainees complain that they did not get proper legal representation and that they actually have the required documents but there is no one to whom they can appeal.
For those who do get notices, the Mission learned that typically, a huge panic sets in and many sell their properties and take large loans so as to hire lawyers to steer them through this process. Many of the lawyers also are poorly qualified or deliberately let them down.
Many claimed that they never actually received the notices: we saw omnibus notices to large numbers of persons, sometimes naming some persons and simply adding a number for the others. Many persons are migrant workers, or were not at home, or for a variety of other reasons did not get the notice.
The Mission was informed that every police station has a separate police unit called the ‘Border Police’. Mostly the regular SP also holds charge as Superintendent of Police (Border). Each border police works in around 15-20 villages, which it surveys for suspected illegal immigrants, who they ask to produce citizenship documents in 15 days. If they fail to do so, they refer the case to the FRRO (Foreigner Regional Registration Office), which sends the case to Foreigners Tribunal for trial. The Tribunal again issues notice, served by the police. If the person does not show up, the Tribunal passes ex-parte orders. Since the commencement of NRC, the Border Police has not been investigating and referring new cases to the Tribunal.
Some civilians alleged that the Border Police was driven by targets, and some made allegations of intimidation, bias and extortion as well. It was not possible for the Mission to independently verify these allegations. However, even the officials admitted that many times the person is not found at home, and notices are then served to relatives. They also said that people are unlikely to evade receiving notices, because they know that this will limit their chances further of proving their citizenship.
Thus such revelations bring serious apprehensions about the security of the detainees, still failing to grab the attention of the government. The government should go for the Bilateral treaty for deportation of the detainees and at least provide basic amenities to the detainees to uphold the tinges of humanity.