The Centre has increased the time limit for filing appeals in Foreign Tribunals (FTs) regarding exclusion from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
The Union home ministry on Tuesday decided to increase the time limit from 60 to 120 days.
The decision was taken in a review meeting chaired by home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.
The meeting was attended by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba, Assam chief secretary Alok Kumar and other top officials.
The Supreme Court recently extended the deadline to publish the final NRC from July 31 to August 31.
“As it may not be possible for all those excluded from final NRC to file the appeal within the prescribed time, MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) will amend the rules to increase the present time limit for filing of appeals in FTs from 60 days to 120 days.
“The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 are also being amended accordingly,” said a home ministry statement.
The meeting also decided that the Assam government would make arrangements to provide legal aid to the needy people amongst those excluded from NRC.
“Extensive deliberations have been held on the issue between the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Assam government in recent weeks,” said the statement.
“Every individual, whose name does not figure in the final NRC, can represent his or her case in front of the appellate authority such as Foreigner Tribunals. Under the provisions of Foreigners Act 1946 and Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964, only Foreigners Tribunals are empowered to declare a person a foreigner.
“Thus, non-inclusion of a person’s name in the NRC does not by itself amount to him or her being declared as a foreigner,” the statement added.
In order to facilitate the persons excluded from the NRC, adequate number of such tribunals were being established at convenient locations, it said.