On October 15, , the Government of India passed an Ordinance to set up tribunals 'for determination of the question whether a person is or is not an illegal migrant. Only in the state of Assam. In other states, detection of foreigners is done under the Foreigners Act, Ironically, there was no member in the Lok Sabha from Assam's Brahmaputra Valley when the act was passed, since elections could not be held in the state in Under the IMDT Act, the onus of proving one's nationality or otherwise lies on the complainant whereas under the Foreigners Act, the onus is on the accused. What did the act set out to do?
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All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service. Panache Bartending to go obsolete in post-Covid world?
Robots replace humans, will serve cocktails, carve ice for whisky. Brand Solutions. TomorrowMakers Let's get smarter about money. ET NOW. ET Portfolio. Market Watch. Pinterest Reddit. This is a setback for the Congress in poll-bound Assam as the appeasement legislation had helped it to build up a minority votebank. While Sonowal had contended that IMDT Act is only encouraging votebank politics without addressing the problem of illegal migrants, the Assam government had supported the law, saying it was equitous.
Cases pending before the tribunals would stand transferred to tribunals under the Foreigners Act, the Court said. The IMDT Act, enacted in , remained more of a legislation on paper with provisions designed to make it difficult for the authorities to identify, leave alone deport, illegal Ban-gl-adeshis from Assam. The poor implementation of the IMDT Act is clear from the fact that compared to 30 tribunals provided for in the original Act, only 16 were finally approved.
Even of this 16, barely five were functional by , while the remaining 11 remained defunct with just one person on the Bench against the required strength of two judges. Incidentally, the original Act had put the quorum of the tribunal at three, which was later amended to two. In other words, illegal immigrants from Bangladesh escaped provisions of the IMDT Act for the simple reason that each time they were reported to the Assam police, they shifted to another location, becoming untraceable.
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Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983
Wikimedia Commons. So scrapping of the IMDT Act led to kneejerk reactions from about a dozen minor political parties in Assam which had been crying foul of harassment of minorities in Assam in the process and detection and illegal migrants as per Assam Accord and had considered IMDT Act as the saviour of minorities against such harassment. Assam-based perfume mogul, Badruddin Ajmal then came to the forefront of the state's politics for the first time projecting himself as the messiah of religious minorities Muslims who were apprehending harassment in the wake of the scrapping of the IMDT Act. Resourceful Ajmal took lead in amalgamation of over 12 minority-dominated political groups to form Assam United Democratic Front AUDF in October to champion the cause of minorities in Assam and fight for protection of their interest in the state where problem of unabated illegal migration from Bangladesh has been threatening the identity and political rights of indigenous communities. There started the journey of Ajmal and company in the political arena of Assam. The party gradually gained base among the immigrant Muslim population in the state at the expense of Congress. Ajmal and his party launched a tirade against the Congress stating that the Congress despite being in the seat of power failed to prevent the scrapping of the IMDT Act thereby exposing the minorities mainly immigrant Muslims to harassment in the process of detection and deportation of illegal migrants in Assam.
SC strikes down IMDT Act as unconstitutional
All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service. Panache Bartending to go obsolete in post-Covid world? Robots replace humans, will serve cocktails, carve ice for whisky. Brand Solutions. TomorrowMakers Let's get smarter about money. ET NOW.