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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

On Assam citizens’ list, SC rejects Centre, state demand for re-verification

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise won’t be reopened, there shall be no sample re-verification of data. Those born after Dec 3, 2004 won’t be included in NRC if any of the parents is a doubtful voter or declared foreigner by a tribunal or is contesting case.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2019 01:31 IST
HT  Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled out any re-verification of the Assam citizens’ list.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled out any re-verification of the Assam citizens’ list.(HT photo)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered maximum security for National Register of Citizens (NRC) data and ruled out any re-verification or future reopening of the exercise that is currently underway in Assam to identify so-called illegal immigrants.

A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman directed NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela to adopt a security regime as provided for protection of Aadhaar data.

The judges ordered that the list of exclusions from the list shall be published on August 31 only online and family-wise.

The bench said only after an “appropriate security regime” for NRC data is in place, the list of inclusions and exclusions shall be made available to the state and central governments and the registrar general of India.

Also read: Assam seeks 10 more detention centres to hold ‘illegal foreigners’

“We further direct that only hard copies of the supplementary list of inclusions be published at the NRC Seva Centers, Circle Offices and Offices of the District Magistrates of the state,” the order added. The court also declined requests by the Centre and Assam government for 20% sample re-verification of the draft NRC in areas bordering Bangladesh. In its order, the bench clarified that people born after December 3, 2004 will not be included in the NRC if either of their parents is a doubtful voter or declared foreigner by a tribunal.

SC also held out hope for people born between 1971 and 1987 saying the NRC may be updated after orders are passed in another case where the interpretation of Section 3 of the Citizenship Act is pending. The issue pending before a Constitution Bench of the top court is dealing with two questions -One, whether the expression “every person born in India” applies only to persons born to Indian citizens.

Two, whether the expression “either of whose parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth” in S.3(1)(b) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 applies to only a person born to parents, one of whom is a citizen and the other a foreigner, provided he or she has entered India lawfully and his/her stay in India is not in contravention of applicable Indian laws.

The preparation of the NRC list was undertaken in 2013 on the SC’s orders, with the objective of identifying and deporting so-called illegal immigrants. Its origin dates back to the Assam Accord of 1985, according to which all aliens who entered the state between January 1966 and March 1971 would be disenfranchised for 10 years, and those who came after March 1971 would be deported. The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on January 1, 2018 in accordance with the SC’s direction.

First Published: Aug 13, 2019 11:35 IST