Centre Cannot Take Action Against 40 Lakh People Left Out Of The NRC List: Supreme Court
On July 31, the Supreme Court said that the government cannot initiate any coercive action against those 40 lakh people who have been left out of the list. The Bench led by Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Nariman said that the draft NRC does not form the basis of any action from the authorities.
The Bench in consultation with State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela, directed the Centre to ensure that those left out of the draft NRC must receive a fair opportunity to be heard and asked for outlining of a fair standard operating procedure to deal with the claims and objections.
As reported by The Hindu, while addressing to the Attorney-General (AG) KK Venugopal representing centre, Justice Justice Gogoi said, “Everybody should get a fair opportunity considering the complexities and numbers, etc, involved. You (government) place it before us. If it is fair, we will approve. If not, we will disapprove. If there is anything missing, we will fill it.”
Mr Venugopal informed the court that the concerned ministry is working to form standard procedures which would deal with the “different dimensions of the exercise of hearing the claims and objections to ensure that the process is fair”. These standard operating procedures (SOP) would be placed before the court by mid-August.
The AG also submitted that the government is building biometrics for the illegal immigrants. This would be used in cases where a declared foreigner escapes to another state, so that person could be caught there.
Justice Gogoi also asked if the reports of dates of publishing the final NRC on December 31 were true, to which State Coordinator NRC Assam, Mr Hajela said that no such date has been fixed and it is for the Supreme Court to decide. He further added that from August 8 those excluded from the draft can approach the Local Registrar or the NRC Sewa Kendras to find out the reason for exclusion. Further claims and objections will be heard from August 30 to September 28.
Justice Gogoi observed, “Our silence now is neither consent nor objection nor assurance”, implying that the court will wait for the government to submit its SOP. Reportedly, further hearing on the timelines leading to the publication of final NRC will be on August 16.