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Date yet to be finalised for setting up 200 new foreigners tribunals

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, June 20 - The Assam government is yet to finalise the date for setting up of 200 new foreigners tribunals (FTs) even as for these members have been appointed and building premises taken on rent. However, appointment of other staff for the tribunals is yet to be made.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the government is ready to set up the new tribunals as soon as the office of the State Coordinator of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) starts issuing rejection slips to those whose applications for inclusion of names in the NRC were rejected.

Sources pointed out that the government decided to set up 1,000 new tribunals to deal with the cases of those whose applications for inclusion of names in the NRC were rejected and it was decided that in the first phase, 200 FTs would be set up. Accordingly FT members were appointed and rented houses were taken. The selection process of other FT staff is also complete, but they are yet to be appointed.

Sources said as per rules, the persons, whose applications for inclusion of names in the NRC were rejected, can file petition before the foreigners tribunals with the rejection slips issued by the office of the NRC coordinator within a period of 120 days from the date of receiving such slips. Applications of more than 19 lakh people for inclusion of their names in the NRC were rejected.

As the NRC coordinator�s office has not started the process of issuing rejection slips, the government has delayed the process of setting up of the new tribunals. Sources also said the members appointed for the new FTs have been attached with the existing tribunals so that they can gain valuable experience.

The existing tribunals are also not functioning properly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. �Though the lockdown norms have been eased, the tribunals are not fully functional. The trials in the tribunals involve calling of a number of witnesses in every case, which is not possible in the present scenario,� sources said.

The government is spending a substantial amount for payment of salaries to the members of the proposed tribunals as well as house rents, sources said. There is also no point making the appointments of other staff to make the tribunals functional at this moment as the NRC coordinator�s office is yet to start issuing the rejection slips, sources added.

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