Assam: SC Asks For Reverification Of 10% Of Draft NRC To Be Doubly Sure

The Logical Indian Crew Assam

August 29th, 2018 / 11:33 AM

Assam NRC

Image Credits: LoksattaTimes Of India

The Supreme court asked the Centre whether it is a proper second chance to the 40 lakh people who have been left out from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft. The SC asked whether they are being allowed to produce their documents to prove their citizenship.

Referring to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the bench, comprising of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Nariman asked attorney general KK Venugopal if it would mean “re-doing the claims” of those left from the draft released on July 30. SOP, which is proposed by the government, allows claimant for Indian citizenship to change his legacy by submitting supporting additional documents, which could lead to fiddling with the family tree. SC was implying that this was in contradiction to the provision in SOP which said that no one would be allowed alter the family tree submitted earlier. Thereby deferring the scheduled date of August 30 for receipt of claims and objections to the draft NRC, as reported by Firstpost.

Sample re-verification

The court, in the same hearing also ordered for a sample re-verification of at least 10% the draft NRC data in a bid to be “doubly sure” about the authenticity of the data. This decision was arrived at after the Bench went through the district-wise report on the 40 lakh people excluded from the draft NRC submitted by NRC Assam coordinator Prateek Hajela.

The bench said, “We would like a re-verification of 10% of the final draft NRC data, like in a sample survey, by a different team to satisfy ourselves. You (Hajela) have to gear up your machinery as it will go on parallel to the process of receiving claims and objections as well as digitising and adjudicating them,” as reported by The Times of India.

No coercive action against 40 lakh people

On July 31, the Supreme Court had 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, had 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”. 

The AG had also submitted that the government was 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 had then 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.

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Written by : Shraddha Goled

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