New Delhi: The home ministry will provide all possible assistance to the Assam government in setting up 1,000 foreigners tribunals across the state by July 31 when the final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be published. Those whose names do not figure in the final NRC draft can challenge their exclusion in these tribunals.
Top home ministry officials recently held a meeting in this regard to discuss the Assam government’s proposal for creating e-foreigners tribunals and setting up an additional 1,000 foreigners tribunals. The Centre is also finalising its approval set up e-Foreigners Tribunals for those who were declared illegal immigrants.
The draft NRC, which was published on July 30, 2018, had led to a huge controversy since 40.7 lakh people were excluded from it. The draft NRC included the names of 2.9 crore people out of the total 3.29 crore applications.
The Supreme Court had recently questioned the state government’s plan to set up 1,000 foreigners’ tribunals, saying it would be difficult to find 1,000 legal officers to preside over them. Following this, the Assam government along with the home ministry and other agencies started identifying retired judicial officers for the purpose. The tribunals will require nearly 12,000 personnel including judicial officers. The proposed new tribunals would ease the burden of 100 existing tribunals as cases of those languishing in detention centre will be disposed of faster. The apex court, which is monitoring the NRC update process, has made it clear that the final NRC has to be published on July 31, 2019.
Of the 40.7 lakh people whose names did not figure in the draft NRC, 37.59 lakh names were rejected while the remaining 2,48,077 were on hold.
However, they were given an opportunity to prove their Indian citizenship with 1971 as the cut-off year. The verification process is being carried out for these people who had submitted documents afresh. The Supreme Court-monitored NRC exercise is aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state particularly from Bangladesh.
The process of identification of illegal immigrants in the state has been widely debated and is a contentious issue in state politics.