Assam State NRC Coordinator has moved the Supreme Court seeking complete, comprehensive and time bound re-verification of the draft as well as the supplementary list of NRC saying some glaring anomalies have been noticed. An intervention application filed by Hitesh Dev Sharma in the pending matter before the top court has also sought direction for the re-verification to be done under the supervision of monitoring committee in the respective districts and such committee may be preferably represented by the respective district judge, district magistrate and superintendent of police. Sharma, who has earlier worked as Executive Director, National Register of Citizenship (NRC), Assam from May, 2014 to February, 2017 was appointed as state coordinator of NRC on December 24, 2019 after his predecessor Prateek Hazela was transferred in October, 2019.
He said that as per the standard operating procedure approved by the Registrar General of India, the rejection slips are to be issued to persons whose names were not included in the final NRC after disposal of Claims and Objections enclosing the speaking orders of Disposing Officers’ to enable the rejected persons to appeal before the foreigners’ tribunals. However, it submitted that while preparation was on to issue the rejection slips, some issues of substantive importance have cropped up on account of which the entire exercise of issuance of the rejection slips’ have got delayed, he said, adding that while trying to solve the issues, some glaring anomalies have also been noticed, which are of very serious nature.
He said that the anomalies needs to be brought to the knowledge of this court as the NRC updation process is being monitored by the top court and the whole NCR updation process is related to the security and the integrity of the nation. That as on date, the final NRC is yet to be published by the Registrar General of India as per clause 7 of the schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. The complete draft of NRC was published on July 30, 2018 and the supplementary list of inclusion and exclusion was published on August 31, 2019, the application said.
Sharma said that That since the preparation of a correct and error free NRC is an issue integral to national security and is being closely monitored by this court, the applicant deems it necessary to apprise this court certain omission and commission that have occurred during the updation of NRC for its kind consideration and possible remedial action as deemed fit and proper by this court in the facts and circumstances of the case. He further said that the documents submitted by the applicants of NRC in support of their claims were initially verified through office and field verification, which had helped a lot towards preparation of correct NRC but this verification cannot be termed as “error free and conclusive".
The office verification process had helped in detection of only forged documents, it could in no manner help detect any manipulated/manufactured secondary document which is used to procure the main document, it said, adding that the office verification process could however, be still a very effective tool for verification if it was properly and effectively combined with the family tree verification process. It further said that out of names of 40, 07, 719 persons excluded from the draft NRC, about 3, 93, 975 persons did not file any claims and therefore their names are in the exclusion list of the NRC. After sample checks now and analysis of the names of the persons who did not file claims on the basis of surnames only, it was found that 50,695 persons were apparently eligible for inclusion in the NRC. Out of this, 7,770 persons are from Originally inhabitants’ category and 42,925 persons are from persons from other States’, it said.
Sharma said that this figure may increase if detail re-verification is done and for a flawless and complete NRC, names of these persons have to be included in the Final NRC, failing which the final NRC will lose its acceptability. The plea said that to ascertain whether there were more cases of entry of undeserving persons getting entry into the NRC through wrong marking of Originally Inhabitant (OI) in different areas of the state, a team of office of the state coordinator was sent to Lahorighat Circle and Dhing Circle in the month of October 2020.
The team made some sample checks on OI markers persons and found that out of 10 names marked as OI in Dhing Circle, 8 names were not from the Originally Inhabitant community. Similarly, out of 6 names marked as OI in Lahorighat circle, two names were found not from the OI community, the plea said. The plea highlighted several other anomalies found in other areas as well and said that some of these persons might have qualified for entry into NRC through invalid documents. There is every reason to believe that the family tree matching process did not work properly and thus failed to achieve the desired objective, it said, adding that some serious procedural flaws have also been noticed during the claims and objections disposal which has the potential of vitiating the entire process.