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Assam NRC: 400 Foreigners Tribunals to aid excluded people; 200 to be operational from Monday

The final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list in Assam was published on Saturday including names of 3.1 crore people and leaving out 19 lakh names.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Assam government will establish 400 Foreigners Tribunals in the state to deal with the cases of people who are excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC).

As many as 200 additional foreigners tribunals will be operational in Assam from the first week of September where bona fide citizens, whose names do not figure in the final NRC, can approach to challenge their exclusion.

“As of now, 100 foreigners tribunals are functioning. From September 1, a total of 200 additional foreigners tribunals will start functioning across Assam,” a senior Home Ministry official said.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home Political) Kumar Sanjay Krishna said the process is already on to set up 200 such tribunals and 200 more will be set up soon for the benefit of the excluded people.

The final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list in Assam was published on Saturday including names of 3.1 crore people and leaving out 19 lakh names.

The draft published on July 30, 2018, included the names of 2.9 crore people out of total applications of 3.29 crore. Forty-one lakh people were left out in the draft.

The publication of the citizens’ list is aimed at identifying legal residents and weed out illegal immigrants.

The Foreigners’ Tribunals are Quasi-judicial courts mandated to hear appeals of those excluded from the NRC.

“People left out of the final NRC are not be detained under any circumstances till Foreigners Tribunals declare their decisions. These people can first approach the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT) and subsequently move higher courts if not satisfied with the FT ruling,” Krishna said adding that the state government will also make necessary arrangements to provide legal aid to those exclude from NRC by providing all assistance through the District Legal Services Authorities (DLSA).

“Under the provisions of Foreigners Act, 1946 and Foreigners Tribunal Order, 1964, only Foreigner Tribunals are empowered to declare a person as a foreigner. Thus, non-inclusion of a person’s name in the NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared a foreigner,” Krishna clarified.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry had planned to set up a total of 1,000 foreigners tribunal in phases.

The Union Home Ministry has also increased from 60 to 120 days the time limit for filing appeals in Foreign Tribunals (FTs) regarding exclusion from the final NRC in Assam.

A review meeting chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah had decided to amend the rules realising the difficulties in filing an appeal within the prescribed time for all those excluded from the final NRC.

The Supreme Court had recently extended the deadline to publish the final NRC from July 31 to August 31.

The Supreme Court-monitored NRC exercise, aimed at identifying illegal immigrants, mostly from Bangladesh, was carried out only in Assam, which has been facing an influx of people from the neighbouring country since the early 20th century.