Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news
NRC Assam: Supreme Court extends deadline for publication of final NRC to August 31

NRC Assam: Supreme Court extends deadline for publication of final NRC to August 31

Shruti Mahajan

The Supreme Court today extended the deadline for publication of the final version of National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam from July 31 to August 31.

The Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Nariman, with respect to the same said,

“we take the view that having regard to the grounds on which the learned Coordinator in his report dated 10.7.2019 has sought for extension of time upto 31.8.2019 for publishing the final N.R.C., extension prayed for should be allowed. We accordingly grant the aforesaid extension of time, namely, upto31.8.2019.”

The Court, however, declined the plea of Central government and the State of Assam to conduct re-verification of a limited percentage of data to check wrongful inclusions or exclusions, particularly in the districts bordering Bangladesh.

The Court stated that it found no necessity to carry out re-verification of data after the State Coordinator Prateek Hajela also took the position that he did not find the necessity for the re-verification exercise. The Court also took cognizance of the submission made by Hajela in his report which submitted that in the course of adjudicating on claims, reverification process to the extent of 27% had already been carried out and thus there was no more necessity to conduct sample verification of limited percentage of the exercise. The order thus says,

“In that view of the matter, we do not consider it necessary to accede to the prayers for a further sample verification as prayed for on behalf of the Union of India and the State of Assam. No further orders in the matter would be called for at this stage.”

The Court has fixed the next date of hearing in the case on August 7 at 3 PM.

The State of Assam was represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta while Attorney General KK Venugopal argued for the Centre.

During the previous hearing, Tushar Mehta had submitted that while India cannot be the refugee capital of the world, tweaks in the process could be considered so as to ensure that confidence in the process is not affected.

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 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.

During the earlier hearings, the Supreme Court directed the State Co-ordinator to ensure that the process of disposing of claims and objections with respect to the inclusion of names in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is carried out in a fair and just manner.

Read the Order: