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Groups demand penalty provision for ‘wrong objections’ in NRC

The home ministry, in consultation with the Assam government, had submitted a draft SOP in the Supreme Court on August 16.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2018 23:40 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
NRC,Assam,Penalty provision
An Indian paramilitary person walks past as people whose names were left out in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft stand in a queue to collect forms to file appeals near a NRC center on the outskirts of Guwahati.(AP File Photo)

The proposed standard operating procedure (SOP) for filing claims and objections regarding the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam has evoked strong reactions, with a section of politicians and organisations demanding penalty provision for “wrong objections”.

However, the groups representing indigenous people have opposed any such provision.

The home ministry, in consultation with the Assam government, had submitted a draft SOP in the Supreme Court on August 16. The SC had sought the government’s final version. The court is likely to finalise it on August 28.

While former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said a penalty provision will be contrary to the objective of NRC — weeding out illegal immigrants, Congress MP Sushmita Dev said it will ensure “accountability” and prevent “gross abuse”.

About four million people did not find their names in the draft NRC, which could be included after the claims and objections process. The final NRC is likely to be published by December.

Dev said,“Forget 40 lakh who are out of draft, there will be 80 lakh more complaints if there is no provision for penalty.”

In a letter to registrar general Shailesh, Dev demanded that a supplementary affidavit be filed in the SC with “penal provisions as per the Citizenship Act 1955”.

The letter said, according to the SOP, person filing objections has been kept unaccountable regarding its correctness and even the form doesn’t have provision for mandatory evidence of the person whose citizenship is being challenged. Under Section 17 of the Act, false representation may attract five years in prison and a fine of ~50,000, she added.

Azizur Rehman, advisor to All Assam Minorities Students Union, said, “There must be a criteria for filing objections...”

Mahanta said,“...when there were provisions for penalties for objections in IMDT Act nobody came forward to file them.

First Published: Aug 25, 2018 23:40 IST