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The Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950

The Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950 was enacted on 1 March 1950 by Parliament and this extends to whole of India. Power to order expulsion of some immigrants has been explained under Section 2 of the Act. If the Central Government thinks that any person or class of persons who are ordinarily resident outside India before or after commencement of this Act has come into Assam and if such persons stay in Assam is harmful to the people of India or any other section of Scheduled Tribe in Assam then Central Government can order such person or class of persons to go out of India or Assam. Those persons should leave the place within such time as specified in the order and by specified route that the person has to go.

The Central Government as it deems necessary can give further Directions with regard to his/her removal from India or Assam. This section will not affect any person who because of civil disturbance had left the place of his residence which any part of the disturbed area now being part of Pakistan has later returned back into Assam.

Section 3 of the Act explains about delegation of power. Central Government after Gazette notification can direct any officer subordinate to Central Government to discharge his duties as stated in section 2 which may be specified in the notification with regard to Government of Assam, Meghalaya or any officer subordinate to that government.

Under the provisions of this Act any authority empowered to exercise any power can take such steps as necessary to effectively discharge such power or authority. Section 5 states about penalties under the Act.  Penalty is levied to any person who contravenes or attempts to contravene any order made under Section 2 of the Act, or if any person fails to comply with any direction as stated in any order, or as per Section 2 of the Act if any person harbours anyone who has gone against the such order, if he/she fails to comply with any direction then he/she will be punishable with imprisonment for 3 years and fine also.

Section 6 of the Act states that any authority who is acting under the provisions of the Act does his duty in good faith he shall not be sued or prosecuted under the Act. This section protects the persons who are working under the Government.

Section 7 of the Act explains about construction of reference to Assam. Wherein it also includes States of Meghalaya and Nagaland and Union Territories of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

Under notification dated 30 January 1950 Central Government has directed that powers conferred under Section 2 of the Act shall be exercised by any Deputy Commissioners, Commissioners, Additional Deputy Commissioners, Sub-Divisional Officers and Superintendent, Lushasi Hills to such government.

Although this Act gives powers the authorities to find and remove illegal migrants but catching suspected illegal migrants migrating into Assam has become infructuous. This must have led in filing a Supreme Court Public Interest Litigation petition in 1999 by All India Lawyers Forum for Civil Liberty. Repealing of the said Act was demanded by them for protecting Assam from demographic invasion of Bangladesh.

Most of the kith and kin of the Bangladeshi citizens being Hindu and Muslim live in and around Assam and Tripura which are the 2 immediate border states of Bangladesh. In an issue of 20 November 1999 the Sentinel said “the Assam Accord is as dead as Dodo and any attempt to implement it without first repealing the IM(DT) Act, can only help the cause of the Illegal migrants from Bangladesh”.

Infiltrants who have been detected and who have not left the nation would be nearly 40,000 and more in number and many fresh infiltration and re-entry of the deported are also happening. As per Assamese people their protected lands are occupied by immigrant population. Under Article 13 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights any alien who has entered a State unlawfully and if such State is a party to the covenant then it can expel such an alien as per the law.

by Sushma Javare