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Amit Shah, the Union Minister for Home Affairs, reviewed the issues related to final publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, on August 19, 2019. The review meeting was attended by the Chief Minister of Assam, Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretary Assam and senior officers. Extensive deliberations have been held on the issue between the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the state government of Assam in recent weeks.
As per the press report, it was decided that in order to facilitate the persons excluded from NRC, adequate arrangements will be made by the state government to provide full opportunity to appeal against their non-inclusion. 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 (FT). Further, under the provisions of Foreigners Act 1946 and Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964, only Foreigners Tribunals are empowered to declare a person as a foreigner. Thus, non-inclusion of a person’s name in NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared as a foreigner. 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. Filing the appeal may not be possible for all those excluded from final NRC within the prescribed time, 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 Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 are also being amended accordingly. To maintain law and order situation, central security forces are being provided as per assessment of the state government.