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What are the functions of Foreigner Tribunal (FT) established in Assam? Why are these FTs in news recently?

  Mar 13, 2020

What are the functions of Foreigner Tribunal (FT) established in Assam? Why are these FTs in news recently?

Ans.

1. In a report titled ‘Designed to Exclude’, Amnesty International has asserted that the Supreme Court and Gauhati High Court had enabled the FTs to create a statelessness crisis in Assam.

2. Amnesty International has raised allegations over the functioning of the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) in Assam.

3. The organization has observed that the FTs that determined the paramount right to citizenship in Assam were often dismissive, used derogatory language, controlled their own procedures and applied them in arbitrary ways.

4. It has also called for a review of the existing legislative regime governing the determination of nationality in India.

5. These tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies, to determine if a person staying illegally is a “foreigner” or not.

6. Every individual, whose name does not figure in the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), can represent his/her case in front of the appellate authority i.e. Foreigners Tribunals (FT).

7. Assam has set up FTs, specifically to handle the cases of 19.06 lakh people left out of the updated NRC.

8. Under the provisions of Foreigners Act 1946 and Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964, only Foreigners Tribunals are empowered to declare a person as a foreigner.

9. The Assam Police Border Organisation, a wing of the State police tasked with detecting foreigners, readies the cases for the tribunals to decide who is a foreigner and who is not.