Registered voters not included in the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) will have the right to vote, the Election Commission has ruled.
The Election Commission, according to reports, has confirmed that registered voters left out of the revised citizens’ list will not be declared “doubtful” and can vote unless their case is decided by a Foreigners Tribunal.
Doubtful or ‘D’ voters are a category of voters in Assam whose citizenship is uncertain or under dispute. The category had been introduced by the Election Commission in 1997, while revising the voters’ list in the northeastern state.
The final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list in Assam was published on August 31, including names of 3.1 crore people and leaving out 19 lakh names.
The NRC is a list of all citizens domiciled in Assam and was updated to retain bonafide citizens within the state and evict illegal settlers, purportedly migrants from Bangladesh.
The list had been updated – for the first time since 1951 – by the Registrar General of India in a Supreme Court-monitored exercise. The update process of NRC started in 2013 when the Supreme Court of India passed orders for its update.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs has informed that persons who have been left out of the final Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) list will not be detained till they exhaust all remedies available under law.
The state government has made arrangements to provide legal aid to the needy amongst those excluded from the list by providing assistance through District Legal Services Authorities.
Those who failed to make it to the final NRC list have been given 120 days to appeal against their exclusion at the Foreigners Tribunals. If not satisfied with the verdict of the tribunals, they will have the option to move the High Court and the Supreme Court for redress.
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). Presently, 100 foreigners tribunals are functioning.
The Home Ministry had planned to set up a total of 1,000 foreigners tribunal in phases.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs is planning to implement the National Citizenship Register throughout the country. The ministry had issued a notification on July 31, 2019, where it mentioned that the Central government has decided to prepare and update the population register in the rest of India other than the state of Assam.