The Supreme Court on Monday ordered that children excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam but whose parents/guardians/caregivers are part of the final list, should not be sent to detention camps or separated from their loved ones at any cost.
Appearing before a Bench led by Chef Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal was required to record an undertaking before the court in a petition filed by NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace. Over 19 lakh people in the State have been excluded from the final NRC list that was published on August 31 last. Its preparation was monitored by the Supreme Court.
Senior lawyer Aparna Bhat, for the NGO, submitted that they represented the case of 60 children they knew whose names have been excluded from the NRC. “All their documents were shown. Despite this, their names were not found in the final NRC list. Their parents’ names are there in the list. Will these children be sent to detention camps" Ms. Bhat asked the court.
Chief Justice Bobde said the issue was very serious.
Mr. Venugopal intervened, saying “children excluded from NRC whose parents have been given citizenship will not be sent to detention centres in Assam”.
The application said “the unreasonable manner in which children have been excluded from the NRC Final List even when their parents are included is in direct contravention of the State’s obligation towards children as envisaged under Article 15 (3), Article 39 (e) & (f), Article 45 and Article 47 of the Constitution of India, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015”.
The NGO submitted that the NRC had identified “specific categories of already marginalised persons” who had been excluded. These included children excluded from the NRC final list even as their parents and relatives were included; orphaned children excluded from the NRC who did not reside in State orphanages or homes; children excluded from the NRC who were from disconnected families and stayed with close or distant relatives; and parents excluded from the NRC when children were included.