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Supreme Court Extends Deadline to Publish Final Assam NRC List by a Month to August 31

The step comes days after the Centre and the Assam government sought more time alleging wrongful inclusions and exclusions.


Updated:July 23, 2019, 4:28 PM IST
Supreme Court Extends Deadline to Publish Final Assam NRC List by a Month to August 31
People wait to check their names on the draft NRC list at a centre in Nagaon district, Assam. (Reuters)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the deadline for publication of the final National Register of Citizens in Assam by a month to August 31, days after the Centre and the state government sought more time alleging wrongful inclusions and exclusions.

Both the governments had moved the apex court on July 17 seeking a direction for 20% sample re-verification of names included in the final NRC draft in the districts of Assam bordering Bangladesh and 10% sample re-verification of names included in the final draft in the remaining districts.

The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman, which perused the reports filed by Assam NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela.

The Centre and the Assam government's stand were advanced by Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, respectively.

Both the governments on July 19 had told the top court that "India cannot be the refugee capital of the world" and sought extension of its deadline of July 31 to complete the Assam NRC.

They sought directions to conduct sample re-verification to quell a growing perception that many illegal immigrants may have infiltrated the NRC. especially in districts bordering Bangladesh.

The Centre's plea also sought a direction that such re-verification exercise be conducted by Class I officers of the state government from other districts who have knowledge and experience of handling the process of enquiry/investigation.

The pleas of both the governments also sought a direction to fix the venue of the sample re-verification at a place which was not in the vicinity of the initial NRC verification to rule out possibility of local influences, bias and threat. They claimed that names of Indian citizens were excluded and illegal Bangladeshi migrants were included in the draft.

They also referred to the apex court's 2018 order by which it had said it could consider a re-verification of 10 percent of the people who were included in the draft NRC.

The top court had earlier termed the issue as a "human problem with great magnitude" and asked Hajela to submit a report in a sealed cover on the ramification of allowing the claimants to file new sets of legacy documents.

The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of December 31, 2017, and January 1, 2018, in accordance with the top court's direction. Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were then incorporated.

Assam, which has witnessed an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state with an NRC that was first prepared in 1951.

(With inputs from PTI)

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