NEW DELHI, July 16 (PTI):A total of 1.17 lakh people have been declared foreigners by tribunals set up in Assam till March this year, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
At present, 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) are functional in different districts in Assam, Reddy said. “Up to March 31, 2019, a total of 1,17,164 people have been declared foreigners by tribunals,” he said in his reply to a written question of Congress MP Abdul Khaleque.
Reddy said marking of ‘D’ voters is not done by the FTs and the number of cases disposed of by them varies from month to month and tribunal to tribunal.
He said the tribunals function as per the procedure laid down in the Foreigners’ Tribunals (Order) 1964.
According to an order of the Supreme Court on December 17, 2014, a special bench of the Gauhati High Court is regularly monitoring the functioning of the FTs.
“A person not satisfied with the opinion of FT is entitled to approach higher courts. Adjudication of citizenship is a legal process and every person is given full opportunity to prove his claim of citizenship,” Reddy said.
CAB aims to give Indian nationality to minorities from Pak, B’desh, Afghanistan
The basic objective of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was to facilitate granting Indian citizenship to members of six minority communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan even if they do not have valid documents, the government told Lok Sabha Tuesday.
Union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai said the bill was initially introduced in Lok Sabha three years ago as Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, and was then referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee.
The committee submitted its report to Parliament on January 7 this year, he said. “The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was taken into consideration and passed by Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019. It was pending for consideration and passing by the Rajya Sabha. Consequent to the dissolution of 16th Lok Sabha, this Bill has lapsed,” he said in a written reply to a question by Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi.
The minister also said the basic objective of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was to facilitate grant of Indian citizenship to members of six minority communities who has migrated from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh without valid travel documents or the validity of whose documents had expired.
Rai said the Citizenship Act, 1955, treats such persons as “illegal migrants” and disentitles them from applying for Indian citizenship.
He said the central government issued a Gazette Notification on October 24, 2018 under section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, to facilitate expeditious grant of Indian citizenship only to the legal migrants from the six minority communities from the three countries if they fulfill the eligibility criteria.
“This notification does not amend the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 or the rules made there under. The notification of October 24, 2018 and the lapsed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 thus deal with different categories of immigrants from the six minority communities of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan,” he said.