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Supreme Court extends deadline for publication of draft of Assam’s national register of citizens

The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2018 21:08 IST
HT  Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supreme Court,Assam,NRC
A view of Supreme Court building in New Delhi, India.(HT File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday extended by a month its June 30 deadline for the publication of the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) and ordered police protection for state co-ordinator Prateek Hajela, who is entrusted with the task of preparing and publishing the list.

A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman ordered Assam chief secretary and Director General of Police (DGP) to assess the situation and accordingly provide security to Hajela and his family members, including his children. The security cover will be in addition to the existing police protection.

The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam.

The issue of NRC is a sensitive one in Assam and has already generated much furore in state. As the earlier deadline was June 30, the state government had stepped up the security in the state ahead of the publication of the draft. More security forces were sought from the Centre to prevent any untoward incident.

Hajela placed his report before the court, giving reasons for his inability to prepare the list before June 30. Accepting his submission and also an assurance that no further time would be sought, the bench extended the deadline to July 30.

The additional security is to “ “ensure Hajela can perform the task entrusted to him with the utmost devotion, sincerity and free from mental worries and shackles,” the court said, giving seven days time to the state to file an action take report (ATR) on its order.

The court order came after Hajela responded to the court’s query on security in the affirmative. “Considering the kind of work you are doing, the ramifications and possible fallout, do you want any order regarding your personal security,” the judges asked the state co-ordinator. Hajela replied in affirmative and said the state can make an assessment and provide for some additional arrangement.

The court also allowed Hajela to delete 1.5 lakh names that figured in the first draft published in December 2017 but were found ineligible during subsequent examination. Hajela was also permitted to keep on hold names of descendants of declared foreigners and doubtful voters.

The SC said it will consider all the other interlocutory applications on July 31.

The first draft NRC for Assam was published in December last year as per the top court’s direction. The first draft, which is a list of the state’s citizens, was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 and it had the names of 19 million people out of 32.9 million applicants.

The SC had then said that the claims of those citizens, whose names do not figure in the draft NRC for Assam published by December 31 last year, would be scrutinised and included in the subsequent list, if found genuine.

First Published: Jul 02, 2018 21:01 IST