The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the deadline for the final NRC list to 31 August 2019.
The Centre and the Assam government had on 19 July asked the Supreme Court for an extension to its July 31 deadline to finalise the National Register of Citizens so as to verify wrongful inclusions and exclusions in the NRC.
The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman which perused the reports filed by the Assam NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela.
The Centre and the Assam government’s stand were advanced by Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, respectively.
The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of 31 December 2017 and 1 January 2018 in accordance with the top court’s direction. Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated then.
Assam, which had faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC which was first prepared in 1951.
The top court agreed to hear the pleas of both the governments for deliberation on July 23 to conduct a sample re-verification process to quell a growing perception that many illegal immigrants may have infiltrated the NRC especially in districts bordering Bangladesh.
A special bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman had fixed July 31 as the deadline for publication of final list of the NRC and had reiterated that it will not be extended.
Both the governments said that they are allowed to undertake verification of 20 per cent random samples of citizens for wrongful inclusions or exclusions in the NRC.
“Please extend the deadline for publication of final Assam NRC from July 31 to a future date. There is a growing perception that many exclusions and many more inclusions have been made wrongly,” the solicitor general said.
“India cannot be the refugee capital of the world,” he said, adding there was a need to re-look the draft NRC list through sample verification.
Both the governments moved the apex court on July 17 seeking a direction for 20 percent sample re-verification of names included in the final NRC draft in the districts of Assam bordering Bangladesh and 10 percent sample re-verification of names included in the final draft in the remaining districts.
The Centre’s plea also sought to suitably modify the time-line fixed for publication of the final list of NRC from July 31 to a future date.
The top court had termed the issue as “human problem with great magnitude” and asked the state NRC coordinator to submit a report in a sealed cover on the ramification of allowing the claimants to file new sets of legacy documents.
(With PTI inputs)