The Supreme Court is standing firm by its order directing the government and the authorities to publish the first draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam by December 31, 2017.
A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Nariman shot down fears expressed by the Centre that a volatile situation may arise if the draft NRC was published on or before December 31. The first draft is to be published after scrutinising the claims of citizenship of 2.38 crore persons in the northeastern State.
Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal expressed reservations about publishing the draft NRC when lakhs of claims for citizen registration were still under scrutiny. At a hearing on December 15, the top law officer said there could be a law and order situation in the State.
But the court dismissed the apprehensions, saying NRC was an ongoing process and the remaining claims, if cleared, could be part of a second NRC draft.
The Supreme Court is hearing a writ petition filed by Assam Public Works (APW) in July 2009 for identification of Bangladeshi foreigners in the State and deletion of their names from the voters’ list.
The Registrar General of Citizens Registration of India had informed the Supreme Court that 38 lakh people were under scrutiny in the State after their documents appeared doubtful. The parental linkage of another 47 lakh people were in doubt after the authorities matched their family trees. Finally, the cases of 29 lakh married women who had submitted certificates from the gram panchayat secretaries concerned were also under scrutiny.
The court then ordered authorities to publish the first draft by December 31, after completing the scrutiny of the two crore claims along with that of 38 lakh people whose documents were suspect.