The Government has dug up an old 1950 Act to cover and protect all the Hindus excluded by the just-published NRC, several high-level senior lawyers have said.
This has been done so that the NRC excluded Bengali Hindus could be protected without even rekindling the CAB debate immediately.
However, Government both at the centre and state are officially mum on this as legal hawks are allowed to scrutinise in details so that it can withstand the legal scrutiny in the Supreme Court.
The Government found the window in the famous Sarbananda Sonowal Vs Govt of India, IMDT case. The judgment in its concluding para No 57 says.
“To sum up our conclusions, the provisions of the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 are ultra vires the Constitution of India and are accordingly struck down. The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Rules, 1984 are also ultra vires and are struck down. As a result, the Tribunals and the Appellate Tribunals constituted under the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 shall cease to function. The Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, the Foreigners Act, 1946, the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950 and the Passport Act, 1967 shall apply to the State of Assam.”
Now what does the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950 says?
That act was primarily for the immigrants’ expulsions. Here is what the act says.
THE IMMIGRANTS (EXPULSION FROM ASSAM) ACT, 1950 ACT NO. 10 OF 1950 [1st March, 1950.]
An Act to provide for the expulsion of certain immigrants from Assam. BE it enacted by Parliament as follows:—
1. Short title and extent.—(1) This Act may be called the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950. (2) It extends to the whole of India.
2. Power to order expulsion of certain immigrants.—If the Central Government is of opinion that any person or class of persons, having been ordinarily resident in any place outside India, has or have, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, come into Assam and that the stay of such person or class of persons in Assam is detrimental to the interests of the general public of India or of any section thereof or of any Scheduled Tribe in Assam, the Central Government may by order—
(a) direct such person or class of persons to remove himself or themselves from India or Assam within such time and by such route as may be specified in the order; and
(b) give such further directions in regard to his or their removal from India or Assam as it may consider necessary or expedient:
Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to any person who on account of civil disturbances or the fear of such disturbances in any area now forming part of Pakistan has been displaced from or has left his place of residence in such area and who has been subsequently residing in Assam.
The last part is the most significant. The Act clearly says that India can shelter any person who on account of civil disturbances or the fear of such disturbances in East Pakistan has left his place and in residing in Assam.
The law ministry is confident that Act has enough ammunitions to protect the Bengali Hindus who have been excluded by NRC.
The 1950 Act may not be enough to give the NRC excluded Hindu people the Citizenship but it will certainly give them much needed time as Government is expecting SC direction in the 1951 year base year case which is lying before the Constitution bench by the beginning of 2020. .