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NRC Update: SC Issues Contempt Notice To Assam Public Works President [Read Order]

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, issued a contempt notice to Assam Public Works (APW) President Aabhijeet Sarmah, rapping him for “disclosing information” regarding National Register of Citizens (NRC) update process during a recently held press conference. Mr. Sarmah has been given four weeks’ time to submit his written reply.

Addressing a press conference on 29 August, Mr. Sarmah had claimed that he has a lodged a complaint with the anti-corruption branch of the CBI alleging misappropriation of at least Rs. 177 crore in the NRC update process. In the complaint, he has further alleged that while the NRC authorities had fixed a salary of Rs. 14,500 for every data entry executive per month, Wipro has been paying only Rs. 5,050 to each executive. Such misappropriation of funds, he says, has resulted in the delay in completion of the NRC update and has caused considerable financial loss to the Centre.

During the hearing, the Bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R.F. Nariman pursued a report of the State Coordinator for National Registration, NRC, Assam and opined that Mr. Sarma was prima facie guilty of contempt of court.

It then directed the Registry to register a suo motu contempt petition and ordered, “Issue notice to the alleged contemnor requiring him to show cause within a period of four weeks from today. Copy of the report of the learned State Coordinator for National Registration, NRC, Assam dated 30th August, 2017 along with all enclosures be furnished to the alleged contemnor.”

The Bench further requested the Solicitor General of India to assist the Court in the matter, directing the Registry to furnish to him a copy of the report submitted by NRC, Assam.

Besides, the Court also directed the Centre to suggest a replacement for former Home Secretary G.K. Pillai as the Chairperson of a committee to oversee the fencing work on the Indo-Bangladesh border. This was after the Court pursued a communication dated 10 August submitted by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Court in a sealed cover.

The committee was constituted by the Supreme Court on 31 July, appointing Mr. Pillai, former Director General of Border Security Force D.K. Pathak and former Professor of Gauhati University Abdul Mannan, subject to their consent.

Read the Judgment Here

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