New Delhi: Two days after final National Register of citizens (NRC) list was published, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has clarified that no individual excluded from the document would be detained till that person exhausts all legal remedies. “Persons left out of the final NRC not to be detained under any circumstance till they exhaust all remedies available under law," a spokesperson of the ministry said.
The MHA said that such persons will continue to enjoy all rights as earlier, like any other citizen, for example, right to employment, education and property. However, the Election Commission will take a call on voting rights, the ministry added.
A senior EC official told News18 that voting rights of the excluded persons are unlikely to be affected till the time Foreigners Tribunal adjudicates on the matter. “No change in their voting rights. Representation of People's Act procedure will prevail,” the official said. The poll panel after publication of draft NRC had told Supreme Court that voting rights of excluded persons would not be affected.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah is set to visit Assam for the first time after the citizenship document was published. Shah is scheduled to chair the North East Council meeting in Guwahati on September 8 and 9. The agenda for the meeting is development of the eight northeastern states, including Sikkim. Sources said the issue of illegal Bangladeshi migrants would also feature during the visit.
Nineteen lakh people have been left out of the final NRC List. The government has said those left out will get 120 days to appeal in the foreigners’ tribunal. “NRC coordinators’ office will issue a reasoned order listing the reasons why the person has been left out. From the date the order is issued, the person will have 120 days to file an appeal,” a senior officer dealing with the NRC in the MHA told News18.
The MHA spokesperson said the government will extend help at the stage of filling appeal too. “The state government has also made necessary arrangements to provide legal aid to the needy people amongst those excluded from #NRCFinalList, by providing all assistance through the District Legal Services Authorities (DLSA)," the MHA spokesperson said on Twitter.
Officials said that persons below a stated annual income level will be provided with lawyers to argue at the foreigners’ tribunal. To facilitate appeal, 200 new tribunals were made functional from Monday, in addition to the existing 100. The government has said that provision for 1,000 tribunals can be made if such a requirement arises.