Q . The Foreign Tribunals are often seen in news in recent times. Examine the features and issues with these Tribunals and the recent amendments made to it. (10 marks, 150 words, GS-2)
- The first para about the context and composition and what are these tribunals.
- Next para could include the features.
- Third para could be about the issues related to these tribunals.
- Concluding para to be about the recent amendments with respect to foreign tribunals.
The Foreign Tribunals came to light with the Assam Accord and the initiation of National Register of Citizens (NRC). The persons declared foreigner are provided a chance to appeal against the order of deportation to Foreign Tribunals. The members are retired judicial officers as per the guidelines provided by the Central government from time to time.
The Foreign tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies to determine if a person staying illegally is a “foreigner” or not, established under Foreigners’ Tribunal Order, 1964 and the Foreigners’ Act, 1946.
Features of Foreign Tribunals includes-
- The Tribunal shall have the powers of a civil court while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
- The Tribunal can summon and ask for the attendance of any person and examine him/her on oath.
- The Tribunal can ask anyone to produce the required documents.
- The Tribunal can commission examining any witness, as and when required.
- If declared a foreigner or placed under the doubtful category ‘the burden of proof lies with the accused’. A person falling under such a category will have the right to appeal at the Foreigners Tribunal.
- The person, even though a genuine citizen, if, fails to provide documents would be declared foreigner and hence a stateless citizen.
- There is no appellate forum against the orders of these tribunals.
- The timeline for appeal was 60 days, which has now been raised to 120 days.
- The adjudicators are often overburdened with appeals due to limited number of tribunals.
The Government of India has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals 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.