29 Oct 2020 5:47 AM GMT
In a recent verdict, the Gauhati High Court asked the coordinator of National Register of Citizens (NRC) to explain how the name of the Petitioner got included in the Register despite the fact that at the relevant point of time, proceedings against her were continuing. "Let the Assam State Coordinator, NRC file a comprehensive affidavit and bring on record the situations along...
In a recent verdict, the Gauhati High Court asked the coordinator of National Register of Citizens (NRC) to explain how the name of the Petitioner got included in the Register despite the fact that at the relevant point of time, proceedings against her were continuing.
"Let the Assam State Coordinator, NRC file a comprehensive affidavit and bring on record the situations along with necessary particulars, whereby inroads into the National Register of Citizens may have been created by individuals who are undeserving and not legally entitled to be included in the National Register of Citizens," a Bench comprising of Justice Manojit Bhuyan and Justice Soumitra Saikia said.
The order was passed in writ proceedings initiated by a resident of Nalbari District, Rahima Begam, against an order of the Foreigners' Tribunal, declaring her as a foreigner of post 1971 stream.
The Court observed that the Petitioner's name appeared in the NRC even when proceedings against her had been initiated and continued on the basis of reference made by the Superintendent of Police (Border), Nalbari.
"Such insertion of name is against the law," the Bench firmly remarked.
It proceeded to observe that this is an issue of great importance and it is not a solitary instance, inasmuch as, in a number of cases the Court has noticed and recorded similar issues appearing.
The coordinator was directed to file the affidavit within 3 weeks on October 19.
The final list of Assam NRC was published on August 31, 2019, following the directions of the Supreme Court, excluding over 19 lakh persons (19,06,657) out of 3.3 crore applicants.
The NRC process has its origins in the 1985 Assam Accord entered into between the Rajeev Gandhi-led Union Government with the leaders of Assam, following massive agitation by Assam Students Union for six years demanding deportation of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
March 25, 1971 - the day when Bangladesh war started - was set as the cut-off date for determining citizenship. All those who came to Assam after that date were to be regarded as an illegal migrant.
The Accord was given statutory recognition by Section 6A inserted into the Citizenship Act 1955 through amendment carried out in 1985.
To be included in the NRC, one has to establish that he had been residing in Assam even before the cut off date, or has to trace his legacy to ancestors who had been staying in Assam before such date. This has to be established through 'legacy documents', i.e a list of government approved documents.
The process had been lying dormant for nearly three decades. The necessary rules for updation of Assam NRC were framed only in 2003.
It gathered steam after 2014, when a bench of Justice Gogoi (as he was then) and Nariman ordered the expedition of process in a PIL filed by NGO Assam Public Works in 2009.
Since then, the process was being monitored by this bench of the Supreme Court.
The first draft list was published in December 2017, which was followed by a second draft published on July 31, 2018.
Case Title: Rahima Begam v. Union of India & Ors.
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