The Assam government on Monday said authorities plan to issue rejection slips to more than 19 lakh applicants who were excluded from the National Register of Citizens exercise from March 20, PTI reported. Rejection certificates are required for the people to approach the foreigners tribunal to establish their citizenship.

The final NRC list – an exercise to update the citizens’ database – in Assam was published on August 31. It excluded around 6% of the state’s population. The government now wants to conduct the exercise across India to identify undocumented immigrants.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said work related to the scanning of “speaking orders” is going on and around 12% of it is left. He said this to Congress MLA Rekibuddin Ahmed while replying to a written query in the ongoing Assembly session.

“After this work gets completed, there is a plan to issue the rejection slip from 20/03/2020,” Patowary said on behalf of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

To enable those excluded from the NRC to file appeals, the Assam government expanded the network of foreigners tribunals in 2019. However, no NRC-related case has gone to trial in the tribunals even after nearly seven months of the list being published. This is because the NRC authorities are yet to issue formal rejection memos known as “speaking orders” to people left out of the registry.

According to an internal memo issued by the former coordinator of the NRC process in Assam, Prateek Hajela, on September 18, 2019, the verification and digitisation of rejection orders was to be completed by October 30, 2019. had reported how several people, who wish to challenge their exclusion from the NRC, have been left in the lurch because of delayed orders.

Also read: Assam NRC-rejects struggle to get passports and jobs – even as rejection slips are yet to arrive