People excluded from NRC may get extended time to approach foreigners tribunals

People wait in queue to check their names on the final draft of the state’s National Register of Citizens after it was released, at an NRC Seva Kendra in Tezpur. PTI File.

Those left out of the final NRC may get an extended period of time to approach a tribunal to prove their Indian citizenship as the authorities are yet to start issuing the certificates citing the reasons for their exclusion from the list of Assams residents, officials said on Wednesday (September 4).

According to the new guidelines issued by the Centre, an individual who has been excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) can approach one of the 300 foreigners tribunals set up in Assam within 120 days beginning August 31.

Since the NRC authorities are yet to start the process of issuing the certificates giving the reasons for their exclusion, there is a possibility of the NRC coordinator approaching the Supreme Court, seeking an extended period, a government official said.

The certificate is necessary to approach a foreigners tribunal to challenge the exclusion from the NRC.

The reason for the delay in issuing the certificate was due to the Supreme Courts directive to the NRC coordinator to ensure fool-proof security to the NRC data, the official said.

The NRC coordinator will approach the Supreme Court only after fully securing the complete NRC data, he added.

According to the final NRC released on Saturday, of the 3.3 crore applicants, 3.11 crore figured in the list while the names of over 19 lakh were left out.

The Union home ministry has said an adequate judicial process is available to those left out of the list to appeal to the foreigners tribunals within 120 days from August 31, when the final NRC was published.

The Assam government has declared that it will take all possible steps to help genuine Indians prove their citizenship and provide legal assistance to the poor.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has also said that exclusion of anyone’s name from the NRC does not mean that the person has automatically become a foreigner as such a decision can only be taken by a foreigners tribunal after following the proper legal process.