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The Supreme Court on Monday gave the Centre and the Assam government four weeks time to file a reply on a plea that has said that 60 children were in detention centres because their citizenship was yet to be established.

The apex court was hearing a plea that said that 60 children were being held in detention centres because their citizenship was yet to be established. The plea said that one or both parents had made it to the citizens’ register but the children were detained because they could not clear the citizenship test.

For the centre, Attorney general KK Venugopal told the bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde that the children will not be separated for now. “I cannot conceive children being sent to detention centres. Where parents have been given citizenship through National Register of Citizens, the children will not be sent to detention centres for now,” the AG assured the court. The court agreed to let the children stay with their parents until their cases are settled in the NRC tribunals.

People whose names were not included in the final NRC list in Assam were allowed to approach the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT) within 120 days from the date the list was announced. Over 200 new FTs were set up across the state for this purpose. There is no provision which discounts minors from appearing at FTs to appeal against their exclusion, according to lawyers. Also, if a person is dissatisfied with the FT’s decision, an appeal can be filed, the government had earlier clarified.

— India Legal Bureau

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