The Supreme Court has ordered that “no coercive steps” are to be taken against a woman who was declared a foreigner by a Foreigners’ Tribunal in Assam, reported Bar and Bench.

On May 17, a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra stayed the Guwahati High Court judgement upholding the tribunal’s decision.

The top court also sought a response from the Centre, the Assam government, the Election Commission and the Assam coordinator of the National Register of Citizens in the matter.

On January 11, the Guwahati High Court upheld a 2019 Foreigners’ Tribunal order declaring Maya Burman, who belongs to the Rajbonshi community, as a foreigner after she could not produce necessary documents to prove her Indian citizenship, including her parents’ old voter cards.

The High Court observed that Barman’s parents had died and that it was “practically impossible” for Barman to have kept track of the necessary documents after she migrated from West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district to Assam after marriage.

Other documents establishing Barman’s link to her parents, who were Indian citizens, were destroyed in floods, her petition claimed.

The High Court had refused to consider Barman’s school-leaving certificate as proof of her citizenship on grounds that the school’s headmaster had not been cross-examined.

“It is not possible for her to bring the headmaster from West Bengal to Lakhimpur, Assam,” the Supreme Court observed.

Assam had published its National Register of Citizens on August 31, 2019, with the aim to distinguish Indian citizens from undocumented immigrants living in the state. Residents had to prove that they or their ancestors had entered Assam before midnight on March 24, 1971, in order for them to be included in the register.

Over 19 lakh persons, or 5.77% of the applicants, were left out of the final list.

Also read: ‘Betrayal by BJP’: Why CAA rules might not help Hindu Bengalis left out of Assam NRC