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Assam Foreigners’ Tribunal rules NRC to be final

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Even though the Registrar General of India has yet to release a notification making Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) a legal document, a Foreigners’ Tribunal has recorded it as the “final NRC” while pronouncing a man to be Indian.

“…there is no question that this NRC Assam released in 2019 is nothing but Final NRC,” Sishir Dey, a member of FT-II in Karimganj town, stated while hearing a case against one Bikram Singha of Jamirala village, whose name appeared on the NRC list.

The state government issues caution

Assam

The FT-“order II’s cum opinion” comes only days after Assam’s Political (B) Department ordered the FTs not to pass “consequential orders/directions” and instead give an “opinion” as required under the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 on September 4.

The letter to the FTs came after the State’s Judicial Department evaluated the members’ “opinions” in the case of those suspected of being foreigners or questionable voters.

Mr. Singha was charged by the Assam police’s Border wing in May 2008

Mr. Singha of Jamirala village in the Patherkandi Assembly seat of southern Assam’s Karimganj district was charged by the Assam police’s Border wing in May 2008.

The individual, who was designated as a D or “doubtful voter,” went missing until June 28 and then came before the Foreigners’ Tribunal-II (FT-II) in Karimganj town two months later, requesting time to return from Bengaluru, where he was employed.

Mr. Singha presented many documents to the FT-II to confirm his Indian citizenship

These included a 1968 land deed in his grandpa Madan Kumar Singha’s name, as well as confirmation that his father Bharat Chandra Singha had worked for the Indian Air Force for 29 years, starting in 1972.

On September 1, FT-II member Sishir Dey heard his case. Mr. Singha had no documentation proving that his family had lived in India before 1966, according to the prosecution lawyer.

She cited Assam’s Home and Political Department’s October 20, 2012, “White Paper on Foreigners’ Issue,” which states that everyone born between January 26, 1950, and July 1, 1987, is an Indian citizen by birth, regardless of his or her parents’ nationality.

Mr. Dey, on the other hand, noted that Mr. Singha’s records indicated that his father and grandfather had lived in Jamirala village before 1968.

Even though no papers were proving they lived in Assam before 1966, (the year of the first amendment to the Citizenship Act).

Mr. Singha’s name appeared on the NRC

The member also saw that Mr. Singha’s name appeared on the NRC, which was under the Supreme Court’s supervision under the Citizenship Act of 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

“…final NRC… was published on August 31, 2019, and is available online at the NRC Assam official website, where it is also referred to and mentioned as ‘Final NRC.’ This legal status continues to be in effect. Citizens whose names appear in the Final NRC have yet to get their National Identity Cards. However, there is no doubt that the NRC Assam that was issued in 2019 is the Final NRC,” the order stated.

The order stated, “I am of the considered conclusion that the Opposition Party (Singha) is not a foreigner but an Indian citizen.”

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