NRC: Assam seeks month's extension for submission of claims and objections

Over 40 lakh people have been excluded from the National Register of Citizens in Assam. File   | Photo Credit: File photo: Ritu Raj Konwar

Assam government moved the Supreme Court on Monday for extension by a month of the deadline to file claims and objections for inclusion in the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

A Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Nariman had on November 1 approved the Centre’s draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for submission of claims. It had kept December 15 as the last date for filing claims by those excluded from the draft published on July 30, 2018.

Main reasons

In its application, filed by advocate Shuvodeep Roy, the government cited the panchayat elections in the State and the exhaustive nature of the claims and objections form as the major reasons for seeking more time. It was not easy for semi-literate and illiterate persons to fill up the forms.

The State Election Commission had declared the schedule of panchayat elections on November 5 — four days after the Supreme Court set the deadline for December 15. The polls were held in two phases on December 5 and 9. Counting of votes is on December 12.

The Assam government said people across the panchayat areas of Brahmaputra and Barak valley were “taking active part in the democratic process.” This and the lack of proper knowledge of the SOP among the masses may be two reasons why the number of claims lodged so far had been minimal.

It said the decision of the apex court to allow claimants to bank on five additional documents for inclusion in the final NRC has put an additional burden on the NRC authorities to make the inclusion process fool-proof, especially when an overwhelming majority of more than 93% of the 3.28 crore applicants have applied for inclusion on the basis of the 1951 NRC or voters’ list up to March 24, 1971. “Thus it may be assumed that people in large numbers have to base their claims and objections on the recently restored five List ‘A’ documents, particularly NRC of 1951 and certified copy or extract of electoral roll of the period prior to March 24, 1971 and are in the process of readying the documents,” the State said.

No response

Besides other documents like the Pension Payment Order after March 24, 1971 sharing details of appointment to government service period prior to March 24, 1971, camp inmate certificate and relief eligibility certificate as parts of the refugee registration certificate etc have also been included in the SOP. Thus, more time is needed for claimants to accurately fill up the claims and objections forms.

The State said it had written to the State Coordinator, NRC, Assam, on December 1 with a request to move the Supreme Court through the Registrar General of India for time extension, but there had been no response.

The State asked the court to direct the Application Receipt Numbers (ARN) of those already included in the final draft NRC to be made available online to enable filing of objections against wrongful inclusions. It has also sought an “intensive sample re-verification of 20% inclusions in the final draft NRC.”

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 11:36:28 PM |

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