Brain Booster for UPSC & State PCS Examination (Topic: 'D-voter' or Doubtful Voter)

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Topic: 'D-voter' or Doubtful Voter

'D-voter' or Doubtful Voter

Why in News?

  • The last 'D-voter' or doubtful voter has walked out of one of six detention centres in Assam, leaving about 170 more similarly marked people to be released from the other five.


  • Manindra Das was marked a 'D-voter' in 2015 and later declared a “foreigner” in a one-sided decision by a Foreigners’ Tribunal in 2019.
  • He was lodged in the detention centre within Silchar Central Jail in southern Assam’s Barak Valley.

Who is a D- Voter?

  • D- voter is the acronym used for ‘doubtful voter’.
  • Those persons whose citizenship was doubtful or was under dispute were categorized as ‘D- Voters’ during the preparation of National Register of Citizens in Assam.
  • This category was introduced in 1997 at the time EC was revising the state’s voter list.
  • 'Doubtful voter’ or ‘doubtful citizenship’ have not been defined in the Citizenship Act, 1955 or the Citizenship Rules of 2003.
  • Once a family or an individual is marked as doubtful citizen (D-Category), they are then informed in a specified pro forma as soon as the verification process comes to an end.
  • They are also given a chance to be heard by Sub- district or Taluk Registrar of Citizen Registration before arriving at a final decision on whether their name will be included in the register. The Registrar has time of 90 days to finalize his findings and justify it.

Who is a Foreigner?

  • A declared foreigner, or DF, is a person marked by any of the 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) in Assam for allegedly failing to prove their citizenship after the State police’s Border wing marks him or her as an illegal immigrant.

Foreigners’ Tribunals

  • Foreigners’ Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies established as per the Foreigners’ Tribunal Order, 1964 and the Foreigners’ Act, 1946.
  • It is for those who have been left out in the final NRC list or have been marked as ‘D’ meaning ‘doubtful’.
  • The ones falling under this category have the right to appeal to the Foreigners Tribunal.
  • Under the provisions of Foreigners’ Act, 1946 and Foreigners Tribunal Order, 1964, only Foreigner Tribunals have the right to declare a person as a foreigner.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.
  • Earlier, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.