Guwahati, Friday, February 28, 2014
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New Foreigners’ Tribunals by April
R Dutta choudhury
 GUWAHATI, Feb 27 – The State Government is planning to make the newly notified Tribunals under the provisions of the Foreigners’ Act functional by April this year, but everything will depend on the availability of qualified persons for appointment as members.

 Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that around three lakh cases under the provisions of the Foreigners’ Act are now pending in the existing Tribunals, and to ensure speedy disposal of the cases, a decision was taken to increase the number of Tribunals. After receipt of approval to its decision, the State Government notified 64 new Tribunals. The total number of Tribunals now has gone up to 100, but it remains to be seen whether the Government manages to find an adequate number of qualified persons for appointment as members. In fact, a number of existing Tribunals are not functioning because of lack of members.

Sources said that the Government would issue advertisements seeking application from qualified persons to be appointed as members of the Foreigners’ Tribunals. Sources pointed out that to deal with the problem of shortage of qualified persons, the Government increased the retirement age of members of Foreigners’ Tribunals to 67 from 65 in 2011, but that alone could not solve the problem of shortage of members of the Tribunals.

As per law, serving or retired district judges and additional district judges can be appointed as members of the Tribunals. But a recent verdict of the Supreme Court may help in solving the problem of shortage of qualified members for appointment as Tribunal members. Sources revealed that the Apex Court recently said that the concerned High Court can approve appointment of advocates having seven years of practice experience as members of the Tribunals and now it remains to be seen how many of the advocates come forward to take up the job of members of the Tribunals.

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