Not bothered by criticism, want NRC out on time: SC
The Supreme Court on Thursday declined comment on statements made by political leaders in the Assam assembly and on revelation of data from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), saying it did not wish to get drawn into the debate
A special bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice RF Nariman, however, said it would pass orders on a plea questioning the non-inclusion of those born in India to migrants between 1971 and 1987 in the register unless they have ancestral links to the country.
NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela had brought to the court’s notice the statements made by Assam leaders on the NRC updation process.
CJI Gogoi said the court would not get into it. “We don’t think we will get into that. As far as judges are concerned... our actions and decisions are being discussed every moment. If we bother about it, we will have time only for that. We are not going to do anything on what happened inside the Assembly... We don’t think it’s worth our time. We don’t want that. What we want is the NRC out within the scheduled time, irrespective of who likes or who doesn’t,” he said.
The judges, however, assured Hajela that they would pass orders on his plea to maintain secrecy of the data
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for applicants whose names have not figured in the NRC, said as per the Citizenship Act every person born in India after January 26, 1950 upto July 1, 1987 were citizens of India by birth. But the NRC updation had adopted a different yardstick for those born between 1971 and 1987.
When the bench asked Hajela why such persons should not be included in the NRC, he said ancestry was being taken into account for those born between 1971 and 1987 in view of relevant provisions in the Citizenship Rules, 2003
The judges then asked Hajela to submit a note on his contentions, so that it could issue directions on the plea made by Sibal’s clients
A petitioner who has challenged Section 3(A) of the Citizenship Act in a separate petition said the different approach was on account of section 6(A) of the Act, which applies to those covered by the Assam Accord and fixes the cut-off date for grant of citizenship as March 25, 1971.
He said the plea had been referred to a constitution bench and requested the court to direct the Director of Census Operations, Assam, not to accept any claim of citizenship by birth from those who are children of illegal migrants.
He asked for preparation of a separate list of migrants who have migrated after March 25, 1971 so that the data could be placed when the constitution bench takes up his plea.