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Governance

Foreigners Tribunals

  • 10 Jun 2019
  • 2 min read

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals (quasi-judicial bodies) to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not. Earlier, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.

  • The amended order (Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 2019) also empowers individuals to approach the Tribunals. Earlier, only the State administration could move the Tribunal against a suspect.
  • The amendment has come in the backdrop of Assam’s final National Register of Citizens (NRC) which is set to be published by 31st July, 2019.
    • If a person doesn’t find his or her name in the final NRC, s/he could move the Tribunal.
    • The amended order also allows District Magistrates to refer individuals who haven’t filed claims against their exclusion from NRC to Tribunals to decide if they are foreigners or not.
  • As per directions of the Supreme Court, the Registrar General of India - RGI (under the Ministry of Home Affairs) published the final draft list of NRC on 30th July, 2018 to segregate Indian citizens living in Assam from those who had illegally entered the State from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.
    • Nearly 40 lakh people were excluded from this final draft list. As many as 36 lakh of those excluded have filed claims against the exclusion.
  • The NRC is a fallout of the Assam Accord, 1985. The accord states that all illegal foreigners who came to Assam after 1971 from Bangladesh, irrespective of the religion, have to be deported.
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