The National Register of Citizens of India (NRC) is a register of all the legal citizens in a State. It was first made in 1951 after the first census and the date was preserved in each of the district.
The draft Assam National Register of Citizens that was published on July 30, a document which is considered proof of Assamese identity, sparked a nation-wide debate after it left out names of approximately 4 million people from the list. It is alleged that these odd 4 million people are illegal Bangladeshi Muslims and the State is set out to remove them from the territory of Assam.
Following the agitations, the NRC process is all set to be updated in the State of Assam with the Supreme Court, vide its Order dated 31.07.2018 in the case of Assam Public Works vs. Union of India and others, ordering the State Government to release a new draft in a fair manner and ensure that no innocent case is left out.The Supreme Court also directed the authorities to not initiate any action against the 4 millions considered ineligible for inclusion..
The Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Nariman ordered the State Government, in consultation with State NRC Coordinator Mr. Prateek Hajela, to frame a ‘fair’ standard operating procedure (SOP) to deal with the claims and objections of those who did not find their names in the draft NRC. Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal informed the court that the Ministry concerned is working out the modalities of the SOP, which would “deal with the different dimensions of the exercise of hearing the claims and objections to ensure that the process is fair, and the same would be placed before the court by mid-August.”
“Now, we want everybody to get a fair opportunity, considering the complexities and numbers, etc, involved. You (government) place it before us. If it is fair, we will approve. If not, we will disapprove. If there is anything missing, we will fill it,” Justice Gogoi told Mr. Venugopal.
Mr. Hajela said time has been given till August 7 for people to ascertain their names in the NRC. From August 8, those excluded can approach the Local Registrar or the NRC Sewa Kendras to find out the reasons for their non-inclusion. Their claims and objections would be heard from August 30 to September 28.
The Court has posted the case for August 16 for further orders on timelines leading to the publication of the final draft of NRC. The much-anticipated second and final draft of the NRC shows 2.9 crore names out of the total 3.29 crore who applied in Assam.
The 4 million whose names have left out from the list have been given three options. “They can come with a fresh set of documents which are correct. Or they can provide us with a mix of documents which will include a part of the old documents and some fresh ones. Or finally they can resubmit what they had submitted earlier and we will consider all three cases equally,” Mr. Hajela has said.
The Indian Lawyer