GUWAHATI: With respect to the Assam government seeking approval from the Union Home Ministry (MHA) to assign duties to the 221 newly recruited Foreigners Tribunals (FT) Members and the ministerial staff, the Central Government has clarified its position.
The Assistant Solicitor General of India (ASGI) SC Keyal stated in the Gauhati High Court that the Centre had already delegated all powers pertaining to the constitution and functioning of the FTs to the Assam Government, and therefore, no approval of the Central Government is necessary for assigning any duty to the newly created FTs. This opinion was submitted to the Court during a hearing on Case no: WPC (C) 1754/2015 on February 11, 2020.
While granting 10 days time as sought by the the ASGI “to seek concrete instruction” from the MHA “as regards the query raised by the Government of Assam”, the Court also fixed February 25, 2020 for the next hearing.
The Home & Political Department of the Assam government in a letter to the MHA last week had sought the Centre’s opinion as to whether the newly appointed FT Members and the ministerial staff could be allotted some of the pending cases with the existing 100 FTs till the NRC (National Register of Citizens) authority issues the rejection letters to the persons whose names were left out from the final NRC. The State government informed the Court of this letter during the course of the hearing on February 11, 2020. The final NRC was published on August 31, 2019.
Approximately 1.50 lakh cases are still pending in the existing 100 FTs.
On September 11, 2019, the Home and Political Department appointed 221 members for a year-long term. The appointments were made not only for the 200 new additional FTs but also for the 21 vacant posts in the already existing 100 FTs. In its notification, the Department also mentioned that the places of posting of the newly appointed Additional FT members would be made through a separate notification.
However, since the NRC authorities have not issued any rejection letters even after the lapse of more than five months since the publication of the final NRC, Dispur has not been able to allot any work to these newly appointed FT Members. On the other hand, these Members have been drawing regular salaries since the date of their appointments. It is against this backdrop that Dispur had sought the Centre’s permission to make the 200 Additional FTs functional.
Mentionable, some of the already selected ministerial staff of the 200 Additional FTs had staged a demonstration here seeking immediate appointment on February 3, 2021. The Assam Police Recruitment Board had selected about 1,600 candidates for these ministerial posts. However, till date, none of them has got appointment letters.