A panel of 221 members has been selected for the existing and upcoming Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) in Assam. Another 50 applicants have been put on the wait list.
In a notification on Monday, the Gauhati High Court said the panel members comprised retired judicial officers, advocates and civil servants, who we were called for interviews from July 16 to August 11. It recommended the candidates, selected in order of merit,.
The list had been prepared and published less than a fortnight before the completion of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) on August 31.
200 new tribunals
Each FT is headed by a judge-like member appointed under the FT Act, 1941, and FT Order, 1984, as per the guidelines issued by the government from time to time.
Assam has 100 FTs. According to Home Department, there were initially 11 Illegal Migrant Determination Tribunals (IMDT). These were converted to FTs after the Supreme Court scrapped the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983.
The government established another 21 FTs in 1983. Four more were added in 2009 and the remaining 64 established in 2014 for disposal of cases that were piling up in the FTs.
The government would establish 200 FTs primarily for handling cases of people to be excluded from the final NRC. These would be in addition to the existing 100 and are part of the 1,000 that the Centre had decided to help Assam set up in view of the pressure envisaged to dispose of cases of people to be left out of the NRC.
Officials in the Home and Political Department said the new FTs would be distributed among six districts. Kamrup (Metropolitan) district, which covers Guwahati and outskirts, would get 67 of these, followed by Nagaon with 39, Jorhat 31, Bongaigaon 22, Sonitpur 21, and Cachar 20.
“Apart from the cases of people left out of the NRC, the new FTs will also deal with the regular cases of D-voters,” a senior officer said.
‘D’ stands for doubtful or dubious voter, a category of people disenfranchised by the government for their alleged lack of proper citizenship documents.