Keeping in mind the “magnitude” of the issue, the Supreme Court on Wednesday granted another opportunity to lakhs of people whose names do not figure in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) of Assam to file claims and objections while also listing 10 documents which they can rely on.
After hearing the Centre, Assam government and other parties in the matter, a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said, “…we are of the view that the order that would be required to be passed at this stage is to open the process for receipt of claims and objections in respect of entries in the final draft NRC published on 30th July 2018.”
“The said process of receipt of claims and objections will now begin on and from 25th September 2018 and will be remain open, tentatively, for a period of 60 (sixty) days effective from 25th September 2018,” it said.
The bench clarified that the claimants can rely on any one or more of the 10 documents as under:
The court also sought to know the views of Prateek Hajela, coordinator of Assam NRC, on inclusion of documents like names in NRC, 1951; names in Electoral Roll upto 24th March, 1971; Citizenship Certificate; and Refugee Registration Certificate; certified copies of pre-1971 Electoral Roll, particularly, those issued from the State of Tripura; and ration card at this stage.
Hajela also submitted in a sealed cover the report on modalities of the Standard Operating Procedure for dealing with claims and objections but said the same could not be shared with any party at this stage even as the Attorney General of India sought a copy of the same.
“…we are of the view that having regard to the sensitive nature of some of the information contained therein which may affect the entire exercise undertaken and also the exercise that may be required to be undertaken by the Court the said report/reports should remain in the custody of the Court for the present,” it said, adding that the request of the AG would be considered on the next date of hearing i.e., October 23.
The court directed Hajela not to share any information pertaining to the ongoing exercise of update of the NRC with any executive, legislative or judicial authority of the state without its permission.
The final draft NRC list was published on July 30 in which names of 2.89 crore of the 3.29 crore people were included. The names of 40,70,707 people did not figure in the list. Of these, 37,59,630 names have been rejected and the remaining 2,48,077 have been kept on hold.
Read the Order Here