The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre for delaying the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC)Â process, saying the deadline will not be extended beyond July 31 as elections and theÂ NRC must go together.Â The top court rapped MHA for its plea seeking to stall the NRC work for two weeks keeping in mind the role of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in the election duty.Â Reiterating that July 31 deadline for the completion of NRC exercise will not be extended, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the Centre is not cooperating in the NRC process and it seems the entire effort of the MHA is to destroy the NRC process.Â The apex court asked the Election Commission to consider exempting certain state officers from election duty to ensure that NRC process continues.Â
"We are getting an impression that theÂ Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) wants to destroy the whole process," the court observes. TheÂ Supreme Court saidÂ every time the MHA comes up with different stories to destroy this process.
Supreme Court slams Ministry of Home Affiairs (MHA) saying it doesnâ€™t want the NRC to carry on and every time it comes up with different stories to destroy this process. pic.twitter.com/3Jn6iyhICDâ€” ANI (@ANI) February 5, 2019
Expressing anguish, the top court said the Centre is hell bent on not allowing the Assam NRC process to go on.
On January 24, the Supreme Court said the July 31, 2019, deadline to finalise the NRC for Assam cannot be extended and asked the state government, the NRC co-ordinator and the EC to ensure that the upcoming general elections do not slow down the process. A bench headed by Gogoi had asked the NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela, Secretary of the Election Commission and the Assam chief secretary to conduct a meeting within a week to ensure that the NRC finalisation process and the upcoming parliamentary elections go "hand-in-hand" and there is no dearth of government officials for either process. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Assam Government, had told the bench, also comprising Justice RF Nariman, that such a meeting would be held and the court would be apprised of the deliberations.
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. Hajela said that out of about 40 lakh persons, who were left out of draft NRC, 36.2 lakh persons have filed claims with the authorities for inclusion of their names in the final NRC.Â
Earlier, the apex court had extended till December 31, 2018, the deadline for filing claims and objections for inclusion of names in the NRC in Assam by those who have been left out in the draft NRC. It had also made clear that the deadline for verifying the claims for inclusion in the NRC would be now February 15, 2019 instead of February 1. The apex court had allowed the use of five more documents by claimants for the draft Assam NRC, saying the premise "better to exclude genuine person than to include a wrongful person" can't be accepted.
(With PTI inputs)