Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India

NRC Assam: Ensure claims and objections are disposed of fairly, Supreme Court to State coordinator

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today directed the State Coordinator to ensure that the process of disposing of claims and objections with respect to inclusion of names in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is carried out in a fair and just manner.

When the matter came up before the Vacation Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Aniruddha Bose, CJI Gogoi presumably referred to reports of Kargil war veteran being declared a foreigner and said,

“There are disturbing reports in the media and media is not always incorrect.

CJI Gogoi was speaking about the process of disposal of claims and objections. He said that even though the deadline for publication of the NRC is set for July 31, no claimant should be denied a fair hearing. The job of the coordinator is to ensure that the process of disposal is done in a proper manner.

There is a deadline and timeframe but that doesn’t mean that the officers cut short and just complete the process only to complete it. Merely disposing of 70 percent claims till today is not good unless the disposal is properly done. Please ensure that.”

The Court allowed the State of Assam to include retired Civil Servants of the rank of Additional Secretary or Secretary with judicial experience in the process for selection of members to the additional Foreigner Tribunals stipulated to be set up.

The Draft NRC for Assam came under the Court’s scanner last year, after protest over non-inclusion of names. The NRC Draft submitted before the Court in July 2018 had a total of 2,89,83,677 persons included, leaving a total of 40,70,707 as ineligible for inclusion. Out of the aforesaid 40,70,707 names, 37,59,630 names were rejected and 2,48,077 names were kept on hold. The Bench eventually directed that no coercive action should be taken against persons on the basis of this Draft NRC.

Along with the cases concerning the Assam NRC, the Court is also hearing another plea calling for State to update the NRC for Tripura. In Tripura’s case, the petitioners have submitted that it is necessary to update the NRC to identify illegal immigrants, delete them from voters lists, and subsequently deport them from India to restore the “socio-economic, socio-cultural and socio-political equilibrium of Tripura.”The Court had issued notice in this case in October last year.

Read the order:

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