GUWAHATI, Aug 20 - The future of the proposed 200 new foreigners tribunals has become uncertain as the State government is yet to take a final decision on extension of services of the members appointed on contract basis. The government has also not taken any decision on appointment of other staff of the proposed tribunals.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that the main aim of the proposed new tribunals was to deal with the cases of persons left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Names of more than 19 lakh applicants were not included in the final NRC published last year and it was expected that majority of them would file petitions in the foreigners tribunals. As it would not be possible for the existing tribunals to deal with such a huge volume of cases, it was decided that the new tribunals would be set up for the purpose and accordingly, the government decided that 200 new tribunals would be set up in the first phase.
Sources said the Gauhati High Court selected the members for the new tribunals and the government appointed them on contract basis for one year last September. As the new tribunals were not set up at that time, the newly appointed members were attached with the existing ones so that they can gain experience. The process of selection of staff for the proposed tribunals was also completed and rented houses were taken in various districts.
However, as the process of issuing rejection slips is yet to start, the proposed tribunals have not started functioning as only after receiving such slips, persons left out of the NRC can make an appeal. The government is also of the view that delay in the functioning of these tribunals has been causing unnecessary drain on the State exchequer. Under the circumstances, the government has not yet taken any decision on whether the rented houses should be kept or whether the contracts of the members of the new tribunals would be extended.
As per rules, the persons, whose names are not included in the NRC, can appeal before the foreigners tribunals within 120 days from the date of receiving the rejection slips from the NRC authorities. �In that case, the government can start functioning of the tribunals as soon as the process of issuing rejection slips starts. There is no point to make the tribunals functional immediately,� sources added.