[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Supreme Court today recorded the statement of the Attorney General for India (AG) K K Venugopal that “the children of parents who have been given citizenship through NRC, will not be separated from their parents and sent to detention centre in Assam pending decision of this application”. The court has also directed the Centre to file a reply in the matter within four weeks.
A three-judge bench comprising the Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde and Justice B R Gavai and Surya Kant was hearing an application before it claiming that a certain number of children whose parents had been included under the NRC Assam had themselves been left out of the same. There was apprehension, according to the applicant, that these children would be sent to detention centres.
The court also took up another application related to the anti-immigrants’ statements made by the newly appointed Assam NRC Co-ordinator Hitesh Dev Sharma prior to his appointment.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal who was appearing for the petitioner argued that the statements made by Hitesh Dev Sarma on social media are biased and questioned why he was appointed as State Coordinator.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court that the “NRC exercise now stands concluded and that the new State Co-ordinator does not have a role to play anymore”. To this, CJI Bobde remarked that regardless of this, Mr Sharma should not be making these comments.
“He shouldn’t be making such comments. You (Assam government) have to explain this. Whatever you want. He should not be saying all this”, said the CJI.
The court then directed the Assam government to give an explanation on the controversial statements of Assam NRC Co-ordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma within four weeks.
The process of NRC update was started in the state of Assam as per the order of the Supreme Court of India in 2013. Since then, the Apex Court has been closely monitoring the entire process. The process of NRC update in Assam differs from the rest of the country and is governed by Rule 4A and the corresponding Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. These rules have been framed as per the cut-off date of 24th March (Midnight), 1971 decided as per Assam Accord.
As per orders of the Supreme Court, Draft NRC (Complete Draft) was published on July 30, 2018, wherein 2,89,83,677 numbers of persons were found eligible for inclusion. Thereafter, Claims were received from 36,26,630 numbers of persons against exclusions. Verification was also carried out of persons included in Draft NRC under Clause 4(3) of the Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. Objections were received against the inclusion of 1,87,633 persons whose names had appeared in Complete Draft. Another Additional Draft Exclusions List was published on June 26, 2019, wherein 1,02,462 persons were excluded.
Taking into account all the persons already included and after disposal of all Claims and Objections and proceedings under Clause 4(3), it has been found that a total of 3,11,21,004 numbers of persons are found eligible for inclusion in Final NRC leaving out 19,06,657 numbers of persons including those who did not submit Claims. The Final NRC was published on August 31, 2019