The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the NRC Coordinator to provide a fair chance to those who have challenged the non-inclusion of their names in the National Register of Citizen (NRC) in Assam.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi told Coordinator Prateek Hajela: “Don’t cut short the process just because you have to meet the deadline of July 31.”
The court directed Hajela to ensure that the hearing of the claims and objections, which are currently ongoing, are complied with strictly in accordance with law by “the concerned officers and authorities who are considering such claims and objections and that all such claims and objections are heard and disposed of well in time to ensure publication of the final NRC on the date stipulated by the court (July 31)”.
Raising the apparent possible exclusion of an ex-soldier from the NRC, the court called it a disturbing incident.
It, however, told Hajela to decide the matters through a fair process and build no shortcuts into the NRC process.
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 sometimes. Please make sure there are no loopholes in the process and it is done properly.”
Reiterating that the July 31 deadline for the publication of final Assam NRC draft was non-negotiable, the court also said that 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.
The top court also allowed the Assam government to involve retired bureaucrats of Additional Secretary or Secretary rank, with judicial work experience, for the 200 additional foreigners tribunals, which are supposed to be set up in addition to 100 that are already functioning.
“The aforesaid (state government) authority shall ensure that 200 additional Foreigners Tribunals are functional on or before 1st September, 2019,” said the court, adding that all developments in the matter of constitution of additional foreigners tribunals and policy decisions arrived at with regard to deportation, be informed to amicus curiae Gourab Banerji.