The Gauhati High Court has appointed 221 new members to the existing 100 and 121 new Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT)in Assam ahead of a week for the publication of the National Register of Citizens’ (NRC).
According to notification, the members consist of retired judicial officers, advocates and civil servants who were interviewed between July 16 and August 11 based on merit. Another 50 names have been placed in the waiting list.
The Foreigners’ Tribunals are the quasi-judicial bodies that will rule on the fate of people to be excluded from the final list of the NRC to be published on August 31. It will essentially decide whether the excluded individual is an Indian citizen and therefore be allowed to reside in Assam.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s comment on NRC that after the publication of the final list, the government will take necessary steps if necessary has triggered a storm, with many reading it to understand the BJP which is in power at the centre and the state, may use the legislative (or ordinance) route to re-examine the list.
The Supreme Court on last month has turned down pleas for NRC-re-verification thrice after the Centre and the State alleged rampant misuse of legacy data leading to inclusion of illegal migrants and exclusion of citizens.
Sonowal’s comment also reflects growing anxieties within the BJP that the final NRC may end up excluding large numbers from the majority community, the party’s core vote bank.
According to Assam BJP, it has every right to question the NRC.
Meanwhile, BJP Spokesperson Bijon Mahajan said that what one can do if a large amount of illegal foreigners enter the NRC saying that they have to think on the correctional measures to weed out the same. He also said that they have lot of respect for the top court and therefore, the NRC is coming out on August 31.