Supreme Court Extends NRC Deadline, Declines Govt’s Plea for Re-verification

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People queue up outside a NRC Seva Kendra in Nagaon to check their name on the first complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was published on July 30, 2018. — IANS

Caravan News

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday extended the July 31 deadline to August 31 for the publication of the final draft of the NRC in Assam.

The apex court also rejected the plea of the Centre and the Assam government for 20 per cent sample re-verification in the districts bordering Bangladesh.

The court refused to entertain the Centre and Assam’s plea for sample re-verification of names included/excluded “wrongly” in the draft NRC, as the NRC Coordinator’s July 18 report stated that district-wise re-verification has already been done during the adjudication of claims, reports IANS.

Last week, appearing for both the Centre and the Assam government, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had urged the apex court to extend the deadline for finalisation of NRC. He also submitted that a sample re-verification of at least 20 per cent of the inclusions of persons residing in Assam districts bordering Bangladesh was necessary.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, “We don’t feel the necessity of re-verification. We are satisfied with the report of the NRC State Coordinator, who also opposed the proposal for re-verification.”

The Attorney General and Solicitor General jointly pressed for the necessity of re-verification especially in connection with the inclusion of names in the list from the districts neighbouring Bangladesh. The Chief Justice shot back stating that he is satisfied with the verification process, and it does not require any scrutiny.

The NRC state co-ordinator Prateek Haleja, however, reiterated that re-verification was not necessary saying that around 80 lakh people were subjected to re-verification, accounting for nearly 27 per cent of the claims.

The Attorney General insisted that the verification was done by a local officer who hailed from the same area, therefore, it is essential to re-verify a sample size to weed out discrepancies. “It seems that 12.7 per cent of the names were wrongfully included on the list across the state and it is a matter of grave concern for the government”, said the Attorney General.

The Chief Justice while referring to the decision of the court not to order re-verification said, “Judges don’t come to court without reading documents. We have read every sentence and every word of the reports filed on the issue in this court”

The court also directed the State Coordinator to issue a public notice to invite all the stakeholders to discuss legal queries.

The court has given August 7 as next date for further hearing on the matter.

(With inputs from IANS)

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