In an effort to allay fears, the Union home ministry on Tuesday said non-inclusion of a person’s name in the final list of National Register of Citizens (NRC) does not by itself amount to him or her being declared a foreigner and assured that adequate arrangements have been made for appeal against it.
The ministry also said it will amend the rules to increase the time limit of filing of appeals in foreigners tribunals (FTs) from 60 to 120 days for those who would be excluded from the final National Register of Citizens, a list of Assam’s residents to be published on 31 August.
The decisions were taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Union home minister Amit Shah and attended by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and others in New Delhi on Monday.
In a statement, the ministry said under the provisions of Foreigners Act 1946 and Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964, only foreigners tribunals are empowered to declare a person foreigner.
“Thus, non-inclusion of a person’s name in NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared as a foreigner," it said.
In order to facilitate the persons excluded from NRC, adequate number of such tribunals is being established at convenient locations.
“It has been decided that state government would also make arrangements to provide legal aid to the needy people amongst those excluded from NRC. As it may not be possible for all those excluded from final NRC to file the appeal within the prescribed time, the MHA will amend the rules to increase the present time limit of filing of appeals in FTs from 60 days to 120 days regarding exclusion from final NRC," the statement said.
At the meeting, it was also decided that adequate arrangements will be made by the state government to provide full opportunity to people excluded from the NRC list to appeal. “Every individual, whose name does not figure in the final NRC, can represent his/her case in front of the appellate authority i.e. foreigner tribunals," it said.
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