Assam NRC: SC orders resumption of filing of claims and objections by those left out

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman said the process will commence on September 25 and remain open for 60 days.

The Supreme Court Wednesday ordered resumption of filing of claims and objections by around 40 lakh people who were left out in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) of Assam.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman said the process will commence on September 25 and remain open for 60 days.

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“We are of the view that all that which we are required to do at this stage is to open the filing of claims and objections with regard to inclusion in the draft NRC published in July this year,” the bench said.

It also made clear that the second opportunity has been granted to the citizens keeping in mind the “magnitude” of the issue.

The bench, which has now posted the matter for hearing on October 23, has sought the view of Prateek Hajela, coordinator of Assam NRC, on the stance of the central government with regard to applicability and non-applicability of certain documents for inclusion of names in the NRC.

The final draft NRC list was published on July 30 in which names of 2.89 crore of the 3.29 crore people were included. The names of 40,70,707 people did not figure in the list. Of these, 37,59,630 names have been rejected and the remaining 2,48,077 are on hold.

The apex court had on September 5, ordered that any one of the 10 of a total 15 documents provided in List-A of the claim form can be used by the claimants to prove legacy.

It had also expressed reservation over sharing with the Centre the copy of the NRC Coordinator’s report on the modalities for receiving claims from those excluded in draft NRC, saying that although the Government of India was “extremely interested”, the court “has to strike a balance”.

The court had said that the report with regard to preparation of the modalities of the Standard Operating Procedure for dealing with claims and objections, has been considered.

Hajela had filed the report in compliance with the court’s August 28 order and stated that the 10 documents of List-A could be relied upon or introduced afresh by any claimant for his or her claim for inclusion in the NRC, subject to their authenticity as per the certification by the relevant issuing authority.

The 10 legacy documents which are admissible include land documents like registered sale deed, permanent residential certificate issued from outside the State, passport and LIC insurance policy of the relevant period.

Other documents which can be relied upon include any license or certificate issued by a government authority of the relevant period, papers showing service or employment under government or public sector undertaking, bank or post office accounts, birth certificates, educational certificate and records or processes pertaining to courts, provided they are part of a processing in a Judicial or Revenue Court.

The report had said that all these documents should be of the relevant period up to the midnight of March 24, 1971.

The list of documents to prove legacy, which were in the list-A of the claim form but were not included in the report include extract of NRC, 1951, extract or certified copy of electoral rolls up to the midnight of March 24, 1971, Citizenship Certificate issued by competent authority, refugee registration certificate and ration cards issued by competent authority with official seal and signature.

The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 in accordance with the top court’s direction. Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated then.

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