The government has decided on a two-month extension for filing appeals against non-inclusion in the updated and final National Register of Citizens (NRC) to be published on August 31, officials said on Tuesday.
The decision was taken following a meeting between Union home minister Amit Shah and Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in Delhi on Monday.
“As it may not be possible for all those excluded from final NRC to file the appeal within the prescribed time, MHA will amend the rules to increase the present time limit of filing of appeals in FTs (foreigners tribunals) 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,” the government said in a statement.
The NRC, a document unique to Assam, is being updated to identify Indian citizens, which in turn is expected to identify all those who had entered India after March 24, 1971. The names of as many as four million people are expected to be stripped of their citizenship in the final draft.
The government said that it would state government to provide “full opportunity” to the people excluded from NRC. “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),” the government said.
“Non-inclusion of a person’s name in NRC does not by itself amount to him/her being declared as a foreigner,” it added.
In order to facilitate people excluded from NRC, an adequate number of tribunals will be set up 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,” it said.