Friday, 19 October 2018

‘Should We Send You to Jail? You Should Both be Punished’: SC Hauls up NRC Coordinator, Registrar General

NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela and Registrar General Sailesh had been summoned by the Court, which said it was “appalled” and “disturbed” by the actions of the two officers.

 

New Delhi: NRC Coordinator and Registrar General of India faced the wrath of the Supreme Court on Tuesday for making various statements in the press about the process of reclaiming citizenship after being left out in the final draft.

NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela and Registrar General Sailesh had been summoned by the Court, which said it was “appalled” and “disturbed” by the actions of the two officers.

“Both of you have apparently committed contempt of the court. Should we send you to the jail? You should both be punished,” said a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton F Nariman.

While Hajela and Sailesh furnished apology, the bench asked the duo: “You are a court appointed officer and you tell the press that during claims and objections any new document may be considered. Who are you to tell that? Who has given you the authority?”

It added: “Your job is not to go to the press, holding a brief for anyone. You are officer of the court and have been given the job to prepare the NRC. We would have taken a sterner view but for the fact you still have a lot of work to do.”

The Court pointed out that it has already fixed the matter for August 16 to let the Central government submit a standard operating procedure on claims and objections.

“The Attorney General is still to give us the SoP but you go to the press making all sorts of statements. You forgot that you are an officer of the court and that whatever you say reflects on us too,” it said. It told the two officers categorically that the bench was letting them off only because a lot of work is still pending.

In its order, the Court recorded warning to Hajela and Sailesh and restrained them from making any statement in the press regarding the NRC without the permission of the bench.  In various interviews, Hajela and Sailesh had commented about the process and the documents that could be admissible for the people who were left out of the final draft of the NRC, which was published on July 30.

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