In the 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) functioning in Assam, more than 1 lakh cases are pending which raises questions about the efficiency of the members working there.
From April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, a mere number of 15,201 cases were disposed of in FTs, reads a status report submitted to the Gauhati High court by the state government.
Besides, in those FTs, additional 173 members were attached in the last seven months for early disposal of the foreigners’ cases. But, the government status report raises eyebrows of many.
The state government had recruited members in FTs with good salaries and additional facilities. But, the outcome is not encouraging.
In an FT-related case in the High Court, government advocate D. Nath said a total of 1,19,164 foreigners’ cases are pending till March 31 this year.
An average of only five cases are disposed of in each tribunal every month. If this trend continues, then it will take not less than eight years to solve the currently pending cases.
Meanwhile, the number of cases will definitely increase as many people in Assam are receiving foreigners’ notice continuously.
Senior advocate of Gauhati High court, Hafiz Rashid Ahmed Choudhury told IANS that an ample number of cases disposed of by FT members are appealed to the High court. He alleges that “there are many examples where judgments are deliberately made by the FT members to leave some legal loopholes”.
“As a result, they returned to the foreigners’ tribunal from the court. Thus, the number of cases in FTs is constantly increasing. As the government hired the FT members on contract, they intentionally want to keep the number of pending cases high.”
But, there are complaints of inadequate infrastructure in some FTs.
Nath produced copies of the communications received from the Deputy Commissioners of the various districts in Assam highlighting the measures taken by them so as to ensure that proper infrastructures for the Foreigner Tribunals in the different districts are in place.
A perusal of the report submitted by the respective Deputy Commissioners indicates that while in some districts, significant steps have already been initiated to provide befitting infrastructures for operating the FTs, in certain districts, proper infrastructure is still not in place primarily due to the paucity of funds.
He informed the court that the state government is looking into all aspects of the matter.