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Don't Act Against Anyone: Supreme Court Tells Centre, Assam Govt in NRC Case

A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi stated in its order that it is only a draft NRC and that the procedure contemplated under the law will have to be complied with subsequently.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:July 31, 2018, 4:03 PM IST
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Don't Act Against Anyone: Supreme Court Tells Centre, Assam Govt in NRC Case
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it clear that nobody can be deported or prosecuted on the basis of the publication of final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi stated in its order that it is only a draft NRC and that the procedure contemplated under the law will have to be complied with subsequently.

"In this regard, the court would like to observe that what has been published is a complete draft of NRC and it can't be basis of any action by any authority," the SC said in its order.

The bench then noted that the authorities will have to abide with the legal process envisaged under the Citizenship Act and for this purpose "a fair procedure will have to be laid down".

It asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to frame a standard operating procedure (SOP) and submit it to the court by August 16 for its approval.

Publication of NRC in Assam is a court-mandated exercise being monitored by the bench periodically. NRC Coordinator has been reporting directly to the top court and Assam government has been ordered to render all necessary assistance.

Earlier, Venugopal had urged the bench to issue directions that no coercive action should be taken against anybody whose name is not included in the draft NRC that was published a day ago.

The top law officer also said that in view of apprehensions expressed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee about large influx of people to the neighbouring state, the Centre proposes to collect biometrics of those who are yet to establish their citizenship.

But the bench refrained from commenting on it.

"We won't express any opinion. You give the SOP to us and prepare it after taking into confidence the state coordinator. You do what you think is right and we will do what we think is right. We will modify it if necessary," it told the AG.

Meanwhile, NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela submitted the compliance report in the court on publishing the final draft of the NRC on July 30 as per the direction of the SC.

The bench noted from Hajela's report that the full draft will be available for people by August 7 and from August 8, people will get to know reasons of their non-inclusion in the NRC.

The report added that those whose names are not included in the final draft will get the opportunity between August 30 and September 28 to file claims and objections before the registrar concerned and at NRC Seva Kendras.

Taking on record the coordinator's submissions, the bench observed that a fair procedure will have to be laid down for evaluation of claims and objections and that everyone should get reasonable opportunity.

The bench will take up the case next on August 16.
| Edited by: Mayur Borah
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