The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the deadline to publish the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list of Assam by a month to August 31.

The development comes after the Centre on Friday told the apex court that “lakhs of illegal migrants have been included in the draft NRC” and therefore needed an extension of the deadline for the finalisation of the National Register of Citizens.

The Supreme Court had questioned the Centre and the Assam government’s request seeking an extension on the publication of the final NRC citing 20 per cent re-verification of the draft NRC data to rule out discrepancies.

Solicitor General (SG) and senior Supreme Court lawyer, Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and Assam government said that lakhs of people have been wrongly included in the list in alleged collusion with local NRC officials in the state.

“Illegal immigrants have to be dealt with severely. India cannot be the refugee capital of the world,” he had argued.

The citizens’ list was scheduled for publication on July 31.

Till last month, over one lakh people more were excluded from the draft NRC published in Assam.

However, the excluded people were given a chance to file their claims at the designated NRC help centres by July 11.

The additional exclusion list comprised names of 1,02,462 persons. These are the people whose names were included in the draft NRC published on July 30 last year but subsequently found ineligible.

The draft published on July 30, 2018, included the names of 2.9 crore people out of total applications of 3.29 crore. Forty lakh people were left out in the draft.

The update process of NRC started in 2013 when the Supreme Court of India passed orders for its update. Since then, the apex court bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R Fali Nariman has been monitoring it continuously. The entire project is headed by the State Coordinator of National Registration, Assam, Prateek Hajela under the strict monitoring of the Supreme Court.

Till now, the top court had reiterated that the July 31 deadline for the publication of the final draft list was non-negotiable.