Home Ministry working to expand scope of National Register of Citizens across India

New Delhi: While the finalisation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is at an advance stage in Assam, the Home Ministry is working on modalities to implement across the country the exercise to identify illegal immigrants for deportation. An amendment in the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, issued by the central government on May 30 paves the way for expanding the scope of NRC beyond. The amended order empowers state governments and even district magistrates of all states and Union Territories to set up tribunals to identify a “foreigner”, who is living in India illegally.

Until now, only the Centre had the power to constitute such tribunals, which were essentially quasi-judicial bodies unique to Assam. The NRC exercise in Assam — under the supervision of the Supreme Court — is one of the most keenly watched processes in the country as several lakh people will be rendered stateless once the final list is published. Pitching for the NRC to be a nationwide exercise and not just restricted to Assam, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha the government will ensure that all illegal settlers in India are deported as per international law. The government would deport illegal immigrants from “every inch of the country’s soil”, Shah said in the House.

Re-verification sought by 25 lakh people

Meanwhile, after nearly 41 lakh people in Assam were left out of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), about 25 lakh people have sent a petition to the Centre for re-verification and it is under the consideration of the Union Home Ministry. Many genuine names have been left out and many bogus names are registered, a highly placed source in the Home Ministry said. “The government’s intention is to ensure no illegal immigrant is registered under the NRC. Foreigner tribunals are handling issues to curb illegal stay of foreigners in India,” said the source, privy to the development.

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