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Government submits standard guidelines to settle NRC objections

An affidavit by the Centre in the Supreme Court says people who have been left out can reassert their claims to be included in the NRC and file applications starting August 30 till October 28.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2018 23:24 IST
Ashok Bagriya
Ashok Bagriya
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Assam NRC,NRC,Supreme Court
People whose name were left out in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft stand in a queue to collect forms to file appeals in Mayong, Assam.(AP File Photo)

The Centre has drawn up a standard operating procedure (SOP) to dispose of claims and objections by over four million people who were left out of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam published last month, the Supreme Court was informed on Tuesday.

An affidavit by the Centre in the top court says people who have been left out can reassert their claims to be included in the NRC and file applications starting August 30 till October 28.

“Hearings on the applications will begin from December 15 and the timeline for their disposal can only be firmed up after applications are received,” it said.

The Supreme Court had on July 31 directed the Centre to draft an SOP for dealing with claims and objections of people not included in the NRC, meant to identify and deport illegal immigrants in Assam.

“The process of looking into the claims and objections has to be based on fair procedure and considering the number of people who have been left out. The government should finalise the SOP and place before the court by mid-August for its approval,” the order by a bench of justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice RF Nariman said.

Even as the legality of the unique identity number hangs in the balance, the Centre has decided to bring NRC applicants under the Aadhar fold. The affidavit said, “the state government in collaboration with the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) will undertake the process of biometric enrolment of the NRC applicants. Once the final NRC has been published such persons who are included in the NRC will be given the usual Aadhaar number as is applicable to legal residents in the country”.

Relief eligibility certificate and camp inmate certificate issued to refugees will now be considered a legacy document.

These certificates are the key to proving citizenship in Assam — for registration in NRC, said the affidavit.

The SOP also proposed that citizens of India who originate from other states and who don’t have any origin in Bangladesh and have moved to Assam prior to 1971 or after will be included in the NRC, if citizenship is proved beyond reasonable doubt.

The affidavit said that for easy handling of claims and objections of the four million people left out from the draft NRC will be divided into various categories — applicants who originate from other states, married women who have been left out, children below 14 years of age, cases of people appearing in the 1951 NRC or electoral rolls upto 24 March 1971 and other cases.

Special concessions have been made by the government for destitute people and orphans whose applications have been submitted by the institutional homes. They “will not be governed by any requirement for documents and their citizenship will be based on alternative evidence if available through a separate committee,” the affidavit said.

“In order to ensure fairness and objectivity, the government has decided that the officers who decided the applications at the stage of draft NRC are not decision making authority while dealing with claims and objections,” the SOP said.

The Supreme Court will take up the hearing on the SOP on Thursday.

First Published: Aug 14, 2018 23:08 IST