The three judge bench of SC in Abdul kuddus V. UOI observed that “The right to appeal before the Foreigners' Tribunal against non-inclusion in National Register of Citizens is available only in cases, where the Tribunal has not already adjudicated upon.” The court in its decision held that an appeal before the Foreigners tribunal is not available to the petitioners if the tribunal had already adjudicated upon and decided the nationality of the individual.
The above observation of court comes while hearing the matter filed by the aggrieved parties who are not included in the NRC have contended before the court that they should be entitled to take recourse to Para 8 of the Schedule to the 2003 Rules which provides for appeal to the tribunal against non inclusion in NRC. The bench however rejected the above contention and held that “decision of an authority after a contest on the merits would necessarily operate as a bar to subsequent proceedings before the same authority for re-determination of the same issue/question”. Thereby, applying the principle of Res-judicata in the matter.
The bench held that the contention of second round of litigation before the same tribunal to be far-fetched and unacceptable. However, it further added that a person aggrieved by the opinion of tribunal can challenge the finding through a writ petition before the HC which would be entitled to examine the issue with reference to the evidence and material in exercise of its power of judicial review. In accordance to court this measure would act as a necessary check to rectify an error of law in the judgment of the tribunal. The court also rejected the plea of petitioner to invoke Article 142 of the Constitution and create a separate appellate forum for such matters due to the reasoning as no vacuum exist in active law with respect to the current subject.