BENGALURU: As the National Register of Citizens (NRC) final list excluded 19.07 lakh people, Amnesty International India has appealed to the Assam government to ensure that the Foreigners Tribunals function with utmost transparency.
It should function in line with the fair trial standards guaranteed under national and international laws, Akar Patel, Head of Amnesty International India, said in a statement here.
"Several reports have demonstrated how the proceedings before Foreigners Tribunals are arbitrary, while their orders are biased and discriminatory," he said.
Patel expressed deep concern over the functioning of the 100 and more Foreigners Tribunals.
"Although, the Government of India is within its sovereign right to update NRC, it must ensure that it is not depriving a person of his/her nationality on arbitrary or vague grounds, by diminishing procedural due process, or if such deprivation stands to render a person stateless," he said.
According to the organisation, therewere instances of foreigners tribunals declaring citizens as irregular foreigners over clerical errors, such as minor differences in spellings of names or age in electoral rolls, or slight contradictions between answers given in cross-examinations and what is written in the documents, which it termed "appallingly common."
Patel cited media reports that alleged Assam government was applying "pressure on members to allegedly declare large numbers of people as irregular foreigners."
"Assam is on the brink of a crisis which would not only lead to a loss of nationality and liberty of a large group of people but also erosion of their basic rights - severely affecting the lives of generations to come," the statement added.
The updated final NRC, which validates bonafide Indian citizens of Assam, was out on Saturday, with over 19 lakh applicants who failed to make it to the list staring at an uncertain future.
Those who have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens have 120 days to appeal against it at Foreigners Tribunals.
The Assam government has already ruled out detention of people who do not figure in the list "in any circumstances" till the time Foreigners Tribunals declare them foreigners.