Guwahati, March 28: Today the Supreme Court directed that all arrangements should be made to publish the draft NRC of Assam on June 30. The top court also examined the reports submitted by the Assam State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela before directing that remaining work of verification of documents should be completed by May 31.
Hajela while mentioning that the verification process was going on as per schedule, said that his office was facing some difficulty in verification of documents sourced from other states. In this connection, the Bench directed the chief secretaries of the states concerned to cooperate.
The Supreme Court further directed that if the verification works in these states are not completed within the first week of May, then the State NRC Coordinator can get the verification work done by the district collector of the districts concerned.
Meanwhile, ruling on the State government’s affidavit that involvement of government employees has led to some problems in holding the panchayat elections, the Bench ordered that one Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) from each district can be relieved from NRC-related works to be engaged in poll duty. This apart, no employee or worker engaged in NRC update work can be relieved from their duty, the Bench ordered.
Stating that it has no intention to create hurdles in holding of panchayat elections, the Bench said that if required, the State government can engage employees from neighbouring states in poll duty. But it clarified that for the conduct of panchayat elections, the NRC update works should not be affected.
In an interesting development, the Bench warned the Register General of India (RGI) not to create any hurdle to delay the process of updating of the NRC. In this connection, the Bench told the Solicitor General that if the RGI doesn’t desist from what he is doing then it might be forced to call for his change. It further cautioned the RGI not to indulge in what he is doing to delay the NRC updating process.
The Bench will next hear the matter on May 8 to take stock of the progress of the NRC updating works.
Meanwhile, welcoming the decision of the Supreme Court, APW president Abhijeet Sharma said that whatever steps the apex court has taken in the NRC case is in the interest of the people of Assam. The Bench has made the necessary arrangements for the conduct of panchayat polls without disturbing the NRC updating work, he said.
AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya hailing the order said that they are hoping for a foreigner-free NRC to be finalised under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
Assam government released its first partial draft of the much sought after National Register of Citizens (NRC) at midnight of 31st December 2017. The partial draft contained the names of 1.9 Crores out of the total 3.29 Crores applicants. Probably for the first time in Assam’s history, the New Year’s celebrations were overshadowed by an issue very close to the heart of every Assamese people. The issue is safeguarding their identity, culture, land and resources.