NEW DELHI -- The Supreme Court today rapped the Centre and Assam government for "dragging their feet" on the illegal migrants issue and rejected their affidavits on steps taken to check influx of illegal Bangladesh nationals into the northeastern state through the porous Indo-Bangla border.
"We have seen your (Ministry of Home Affairs) counter (affidavit) and state's counter and we are left with the impression that both the Union of India and the state are dragging their feet," a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman said.
The bench then appointed senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika as court commissioner to physically verify the fencing and security across the Indo-Bangla border running through Assam and file a final report by June 30. It also asked the MHA to pay Rs five lakh to the lawyer for this purpose.
It expressed dissatisfaction over non-selection of the Presiding Officers and Members of the 64 Tribunals, sanctioned by the Centre which would taken up the issue of citizenship of migrants, by the Gauhati High Court.
The bench directed the high court to prepare the list of presiding officers and members of tribunal within 45 days.
On the issue of updating of the National Register for Citizenship (NRC), the NRC Coordinator informed the bench that he had written to the MHA and the Registrar General of India seeking their responses on certain anomalies in the law on the issue of citizenship.
"The queries had been made in February and unfortunately, they have not been responded to," the bench said asked the MHA and the the Registrar General of India to file their responses on July 14.
Earlier, the court had asked the NRC Coordinator to file an affidavit on the progress made in preparation of the NRC keeping in mind the deadline meant for publication of the final NRC.
The court had also asked the MHA to file an affidavit indicating steps taken by it on border fencing, construction of border roads, night patrolling, flood-lights, scheme for deportation in consultation with the Bangladesh in terms of its December 17 order.
Earlier, the court had also slammed the Assam government for dragging its feet in taking steps to curb influx of illegal Bangladesh nationals through the porous Indo-Bangla border in the state.