SC refuses to extend Assam d National Registry of Citizens deadline, slams Centre
Supreme Court rejected its plea seeking an extension of the deadline for publishing the updated National Registry of Citizens (NRC) for Assamindia Updated: Dec 02, 2017 20:06 IST
In a setback to the Centre, the Supreme Court rejected its plea seeking an extension of the deadline for publishing the updated National Registry of Citizens (NRC) for Assam, further fuelling the ongoing debate about separation of judiciary and executive’s powers.
The central government had asked for the deadline to be extended from December 31, 2017 to July 31, 2018, arguing that if the apex court rejected its demand then it would violate the doctrine of separation of powers and also give rise to a possible law and order problem.
A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman pulled up the government for delaying finalisation of the NRC, which would help weed out illegal migrants from Assam, and fence the porous Indo-Bangla border.
“What we are asking you is to protect the country… we are asking you to protect India and what you are doing is stopping the progress even in border fencing,” the bench told central government law officers present at the hearing.
The exercise to update the NRC was undertaken in 2014 after the top court gave Centre and Assam three years to complete the entire process. The order was passed on the basis of an earlier assurance from both the governments that ?288 crore had been sanctioned for the task, which would take three years to conclude.
As per the top court order, those who came to the eastern state on or after January 1,1966 and before March 25, 1971 and were declared foreigners by the foreigners tribunals and after the declaration got themselves registered with the registering authority, were eligible to be included in the consolidated list of Indian citizens. Those who have been declared bonafide Indian citizens by the foreigners tribunals too were eligible.
However, apprehensions were raised before the top court last week over meeting the December 31 deadline.
According to the state coordinator 1.23 crore applicants for inclusion are yet to be verified.
“Should we leave the fate of this country to your governance? When we interfere you talk about separation of power,” Justice Gogoi, who was heading the bench, said.
When Venugopal requested more time for publishing NRC, Justice Nariman quipped: “..suppose we extend the deadline till April, 2018, you will again come then and say please extend the deadline further.”