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Give fair chance to people who have challenged their exclusion from Assam NRC: SC

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court made it clear that it will not extend the July 31 deadline for finalisation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the National Register of Citizens Coordinator to provide a fair chance to those who have challenged the non-inclusion of their names in the NRC in Assam.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi further told Coordinator Prateek Hajela to “not cut short the process as they have to meet the deadline of July 31.”

The court said: “There are media reports how claims and objections are being dealt by the officials involved in the NRC. And the media is not always wrong. They are right sometime. Please make sure there are no loopholes in the process and it is done properly.”

The court queried the Coordinator on the apparent possible exclusion of an ex-soldier from the NRC and called it a disturbing incident. Hajela was asked to decide the matters through a fair process and build no short cuts into the NRC process.

The top court reiterated that the July 31 deadline for the publication of final Assam NRC draft was non-negotiable and it should not be met at the expense of those who have filed claims for inclusion of their names in the NRC.

“They should be given procedural chance to present their case,” the court said.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court made it clear that it will not extend the July 31 deadline for finalisation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman also gave a “free hand” to Hajela against wrong exclusion or inclusion of citizens in the NRC.

The direction came after Hajela informed the bench that many people, who had objected to the inclusion of certain individuals in the draft NRC are not coming forward before panels which are dealing with such complaints.

The draft National Register of Citizens for Assam was published on July 30, 2018, in which the names of 2.89 crore of the 3.29 crore people were included. The names of 40,70,707 people did not figure in the list. Of these, 37,59,630 names have been rejected and the remaining 2,48,077 are on hold.

The court has allowed claimants for Assam NRC to rely on five documents which were earlier objected to by NRC coordinator.

These five documents are NRC of 1951, voter list of 1966, voter list of 1971, refugee registration certificate till 1971 and ration card issued till 1971.