The historic National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam published in August last year was only a "supplementary list" and the final document is yet to come out, state coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma has told the Gauhati High Court. In the "supplementary list" of the NRC, over 10,000 names were either wrongly included or excluded and necessary orders have been issued to delete nearly 4,800 "ineligible persons" from the document, Sarma said in an affidavit to the high court.
The final NRC was released on August 31, 2019 by excluding names of 19,06,657 persons. A total of 3,11,21,004 names were included out of 3,30,27,661 applicants. The affidavit was submitted as per an order by the Gauhati High Court in relation to a writ petition by one Rahima Begam against a Nalbari district Foreigners' Tribunal order, declaring her a foreigner.
"…the Supplementary NRC was already published by the LRCPs on 31st August, 2019, but the final National Register of Citizens 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," it said. Sarma further stated that after the publication of the "supplementary list" of inclusion and exclusion on August 31 last year, some of the District Registrar of Citizens Registers (DRCR) formally requested the NRC state coordinator to "change results" of NRC with "proper reasons".
"Altogether 10,199 Nos. of formal requests were received from DRCRs to change the results of NRC. Out of 10,199 persons, a total of 5,404 numbers were for changing the result from 'Reject' to 'Accept' and a total of 4,795 numbers were for changing result from 'Accept' to 'Reject'," he said. It was found that out of the total wrongfully included persons, 1,032 belonged to Declared Foreigners (DF), Doubtful Voters (DV), Persons having cases pending at Foreigners Tribunals (PFT) and their descendants (DFD, DVD, PFTD), he added.
There are another 3,763 persons who were found ineligible for other reasons and they are still included in the NRC, the affidavit stated. As per the rules of the NRC, the names of the persons belonging to the three categories cannot be included in the historical document along with their descendants.
Sarma said that instructions have been issued to all DRCRs on October 13 this year to issue "speaking orders" for deletion of "names of ineligible persons". "…it is found that in most of the cases, names of such persons were wrongly included due to data entry errors," he said in the affidavit.
Also, few districts reported that during the hearing, the Disposing Officers could not properly determine the status of DV, DF and PFT categories and their descendants, might be because various state agencies could not guide for correct identification. "Moreover, the Disposing Officers were allowed to take up cases beyond their jurisdiction," the NRC state coordinator mentioned.
On the other hand, a large number of original inhabitants were left out from the draft NRC and some of them did not even submit their claims petitions in the later stages, he added. Sarma said the matching of 'Family Tree', which would have been a full-proof method, was not carried out with due diligence in many cases.
Though the final NRC was made public last year, it has not been notified by the Registrar General of India yet. This leaves the historic and controversial document without any official validity. After the publication of the final NRC, almost all stakeholders and political parties criticised it as a faulty document, alleging exclusion of indigenous people and inclusion of illegal migrants.