Gauhati HC seeks affidavit from NRC coordinator on inclusion of ineligible names in list
The Gauhati high court (HC) has asked Hitesh Dev Sarma, the Assam coordinator of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), to file a comprehensive affidavit on how some ineligible people managed to get included in the final NRC list for the north-eastern state released in August, 2019.
The two-member HC division bench, comprising Justices Manojit Bhuyan and Soumitra Saikia, directed Sarma last week to file the affidavit within three weeks, when the next hearing of the case is slated to be held.
The court was hearing a petition by Rahima Begam, a resident of Mukalmua in Assam’s Nalbari district, who had challenged a 2019 order of a foreigner’s tribunal, which had declared her an alien.
Begam’s name figured on the NRC list that aims to weed out illegal foreigners.
The NRC list, which was released on August 31, 2019, had excluded 1.9 million applicants. Around 33 million applicants had applied for their inclusion in the list.
The list, which was a revision of a similar exercise first introduced in 1951, was compiled following a Supreme Court (SC) order and the exercise was conducted under the apex court’s supervision.
The HC noted that the present case was of “great importance” and was not a “solitary instance” and stressed that insertions of names of ineligible people in the NRC list was “against the law”.
“This is not an isolated case. Let the Assam NRC coordinator file a comprehensive affidavit and bring on record the situations along with necessary particulars, where inroads into the list may have been created by individuals, who are undeserving and not legally entitled to be included in it,” the court said.
The court stated that the affidavit should not be restricted to Nalbari district, to which the petitioner Begam belongs, but must include details from all 33 districts of Assam.
Earlier in October, Sarma had written to all deputy commissioners (DCs) and district registrars of citizen registration (DRCR) and directed them to issue speaking orders for deletion of the ineligible people’s names from the list.
The letter didn’t mention the number of such ineligible people.
However, reports, quoting sources, said that around 10,000 ineligible people have been identified, whose names will be removed from the list.