‘Move to delist some categories from updated NRC is contempt of SC’

Congress says NRC authorities did not obtain permission from court to issue the directive

The opposition Congress in Assam has said the move to delist certain categories of people from the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) was tantamount to “contempt of the Supreme Court.”

State Coordinator for NRC, Hitesh Dev Sarma, had on October 13 asked deputy commissioners and district registrars of citizen registration to prepare a list of “ineligible” people belonging to the “categories of DF/DV/PFT” and their descendants who have been included in the complete NRC published on August 31, 2019.

DF, DV and PFT expand to declared foreigners, doubtful voters and pending in Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs).

Congress MLA and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, on Friday said the NRC authorities did not obtain permission from the Supreme Court to issue the directive.

The apex court had monitored the exercise of updating the NRC of 1951.

“An earnest desire of the people of Assam was fulfilled when the NRC was updated under the supervision of the Supreme Court and, as such, both the Central and State governments share a responsibility towards the NRC. However, news has been published that the incumbent NRC State Coordinator has instructed various district magistrates to prepare a list of D-voters, persons facing trial in FTs, children younger than 14 years who have one parent of dubious nationality, and the like,” Mr. Saikia said.

He said the NRC State Coordinator’s directive was tantamount to contempt of the Supreme Court as he had not taken the court’s leave to do so. “The apex court did not pass any order regarding omission or inclusion of fresh names in the final NRC,” he added.

Mr. Saikia urged the State government to start the process of final NRC appeals, which was supposed to start within 120 days of publication of the document but remained on hold for more than a year.

“Emphasis should be on the inclusion of the names of local inhabitants whose names did not appear in the NRC because they never applied for enrolment,” he said.

On Thursday, the Forum for Protection of Indian Citizenship Rights had made a similar observation. It also alluded to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s statement at a public function on October 10 that the NRC was erroneous.

“If the NRC is faulty, the 55,000 State government employees engaged for the updating exercise are responsible. Why should the common people, who underwent a traumatic phase, pay for their mistakes?” said a spokesperson of the forum.

More than 19 lakh of some 3.3 crore applicants had been left out of the NRC.

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