No room for ‘biasness’, ‘injustice’ in NRC, says MEA

New Delhi: Allaying concerns raised on the status of those excluded from National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, the government on Sunday said that NRC is a non-discriminatory process with no room for “biasness and injustice”.

“The NRC it is a non-discriminatory process with no room for biasness and injustice and the exclusion from it has no implication on the rights of an individual resident in Assam,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said here in a press conference.

He categorically stated that the Assam NRC was not an executive-driven process, but rather a court-mandated and-monitored exercise. People who are not in the final NRC list will not be detained and will continue to enjoy all the rights as before till they have exhausted all the remedies available under the law, he further said.

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“The apex court of the land has itself set the deadlines for all steps that have been taken so far” he said.
“As can be seen from the application form for data entry in NRC, there was no column in the application asking for the religion of the applicant” he said.

He said anyone excluded from the list at this stage has a right to file an appeal within 120 days of receiving notification of exclusion to the designated Tribunal.

“All appeals and excluded cases will be examined by this Tribunal that is a judicial process. This judicial process will commence only after the appellate period is over. Thereafter, anyone still aggrieved by any decision of being excluded will have the right to approach the High Court of Assam and then the Supreme Court,” he said.

Dismissing reports in a section of the media on the aspects of the final NRC as ‘incorrect’, he said: “Exclusion from the NRC does not make the excluded person “Stateless”. It also does not make him or her “Foreigner”, within the legal meaning of the term. They will not be deprived of any rights or entitlements which they have enjoyed before.”

To expedite the process of receiving applications for inclusion, Kumar said the state government is further adding 200 tribunals to the existing 100 tribunals.

“A further 200 more tribunals will be set up by the State of Assam by December 2019. These Tribunals will be set up at the Block level for the convenience of appellants.”

He went on to say that the government of India will even assist in providing directions on how to deal with such appeals.

“Through the District Legal Service Authorities, the government has provisioned to extend legal aid to the needy. The State of Assam has assured provision of free legal assistance to any person excluded from the list and who is unable to afford such legal assistance. This is to enable people, especially disadvantaged sections, to have access to the best possible legal assistance,” he said.

“NRC is a fair process based on scientific methods. Inclusion in the NRC is a unique process, as it is based on “application” rather than “house to house enumeration”, adding that any person in Assam could have sought to be included in the list on the basis of having documentation to prove lineage from an entitled person — a person who was a resident of Assam as on March 24, 1971.

The final list of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was published on Saturday with 19.06 lakh people not included in it and around 3.11 crore people included as citizens of India.

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