The Gauhati High Court on Friday ordered the release of a former Indian Army soldier who was declared a foreigner and sent to a detention centre in Assam on May 28, The Indian Express reported. The court asked 52–year-old Mohammed Sanaullah to furnish bail bond of Rs 20,000 with two local sureties, and asked him not to move out of the territorial limits of Kamrup district without the permission of district superintendent of police, according to Live Law.

Sanaullah, who retired as subedar with the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers of Army in August 2017, was arrested by the Assam Border Police in Guwahati and taken to a detention centre for undocumented immigrants in Goalpara district. Sanaullah’s appeal against the order of the Foreigners’ Tribunal in Kamrup district’s Boko town will continue at the High Court, one of his lawyers told The Indian Express.

The tribunal – a quasi judicial bodies set up to decide on cases of disputed nationality – had found that the former soldier was an immigrant labourer from Bangladesh.

According to NDTV, the court sent notices to the Centre, the state government, the Election Commission, the National Register of Citizens authorities and the Assam Border Police investigation officer Chandramal Das.

On Friday, senior lawyer Indira Jaising, assisted by advocates HRA Choudhury, PK Deka, Aman Wadud and Syed Burhanur Rehman, appeared in court on Sanaullah’s behalf, Live Law reported.

In his petition, filed on May 31, Sanaullah said the tribunal’s decision was “arbitrary, perverse and illegal”. The petition noted that the proceedings against the former soldier were initiated in September 2018, based on the Assam Border Police’s report from 2008, which stated that he was an “illegal migrant”. This report is farcical and “completely false and fabricated”, Sanaullah said.

The petition said the most glaring error in the tribunal’s order was that it failed to notice that Sanaullah had served the Indian Army from 1987 to 2017, and had taken part in the Kargil war of 1999.

In March, the Supreme Court pulled up the Assam government for the inadequate functioning of foreigners’ tribunals and said it was not taking deportation of undocumented migrants seriously. The following month, the court asked the state government how it planned to release foreigners held in the state’s detention centres for allegedly entering the state illegally.

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