Assam government’s Political Department has issued a notification ordering the State police’s Border wing not to forward any case against Gurkhas to the Foreigners’ Tribunals under the Foreigners’ Act of 1946.
- The Border wing is tasked with identifying people of doubtful citizenship and serving them notices for a Foreigners’ Tribunal — a quasi-judicial establishment — to take over.
- According to the 2011 census, Assam has more than 5 lakh Gurkhas, most of whom came as members of armed forces under the British administration.
- About 22,000 Gurkhas were left out of the draft National Register of Citizens published on August 31, 2019.
- The cases of some 2,500 Gurkhas are pending in a few of the 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals in Assam. All such cases are to be withdrawn.
- A declared foreigner, or DF, is a person marked by Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) for allegedly failing to prove their citizenship after the State police’s Border wing marks him or her as an illegal immigrant.
- Foreigners’ Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies established as per the Foreigners’ Tribunal Order, 1964 and the Foreigners’ Act, 1946.
- Composition: Advocates not below the age of 35 years of age with at least 7 years of practice (or) Retired Judicial Officers from the Assam Judicial Service (or) Retired IAS of ACS Officers (not below the rank of Secretary/Addl. Secretary) having experience in quasi-judicial works.
- 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.