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CJI Ranjan Gogoi Defends NRC as Document for the Future, Says 19 or 40 Lakh Excluded is Not the Point

CJI Ranjan Gogoi said social media and its tools have been used by many commentators to double speak on the NRC issue.


Updated:November 3, 2019, 4:20 PM IST
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CJI Ranjan Gogoi Defends NRC as Document for the Future, Says 19 or 40 Lakh Excluded is Not the Point
File photo of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. (PTI)

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Sunday called the National Register of Citizens (NRC), implemented so far in his home state Assam, a “base document for the future” and a solution “within framework”.

Speaking at the launch of a book titled ‘Post-Colonial Assam’, Gogoi said the NRC is not a document of the moment. “Nineteen lakh or 40 lakh is not the point. But it is a base document for the future. A document on which we can refer to determine future claims. The intrinsic value of the NRC, in my view, is mutual peaceful co-existence. Progressive societies are meant to be inclusive," the CJI, who retired this month, said.

Justice Gogoi said the national discourse on the NRC had seen the emergence of armchair commentators who present a distorted picture.

He also slammed people using the social media to cast aspersions on the NRC exercise. "The social media and its tools have been used by many commentators to doublespeak on the issue. They launched a motivated tirade at a democratic institution. These commentators and their vile on the initiative (NRC) was far removed from the facts," he said.

The NRC has been prepared to identify genuine Indian citizens living in Assam since March 24, 1971, or before, and identify illegal Bangladeshi migrants in the state.

The Supreme Court monitored final NRC was published on August 31. Of Assam's 33 million residents, who were asked to prove their Indian citizenship, names of about 1.9 million were excluded. The draft list published last year had excluded 40 lakh names.

The names not in the final list will now be referred to 300 quasi-judicial bodies called Foreigners' Tribunals, constituted by the Assam government. The apex court had closely monitored the progress of the NRC exercise, stepping in from time to time to ensure that the Centre and state stuck to the timeline.

The United Nations' High Commissioner for Refugees has expressed concern that the exercise of verification of nationality may result in statelessness for millions as Bangladesh is unlikely to take back those identified as illegal immigrants.

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