Those people who have been left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and are registered voters can cast their votes in elections, the Election Commission announced.
However, those people included in the 'Doubtful voters' list will not be able to vote in any of the upcoming elections. This entails that out of 19 lakh people, those who are registered as voters can cast their vote.
However, the number of registered voters left out of the NRC has not been ascertained yet, the EC said.
According to EC, these registered voters out of those left in NRC will not be marked 'doubtful' and can keep voting in elections until a Foreigners' tribunal takes a decision on their case.
Doubtful or ‘D’ voters are a category of voters in Assam whose citizenship is uncertain or under dispute. In 1997, the EC had introduced this while revising the state’s voters' list.
While ‘D’ voters are present on Assam’s electoral roll, they cannot vote in an election unless their case is decided by a Foreigners’ Tribunal. Around 1.2 lakh ‘D’ voters did not take part in the Lok Sabha elections 2019. However, those excluded from the draft NRC were allowed to vote.
The final NRC was published on August 30, including around 3.11 crore applicants as citizens and excluding 19 lakh people from the citizens' register. After publication, the Commission faced the question of whether non-inclusion makes a person’s citizenship doubtful and if she should be marked as ‘Doubtful’ till her citizenship is decided by the Foreigners’ Tribunal.
Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs had also issued a clarification saying that the absence of names in the NRC does not amount to them being declared foreigners; they have a window to prove their citizenship before tribunals.