Assam State Jamiat Questions Status Of NRC Coordinator
The NRC Coordinator, Hitesh Dev Sharma’s role and status has been questioned by Assam State Jamiat, which has also accused Mr. Sharma of trying to fraudulently seek power to alter NRC even as he is not authorized overriding the Principal custodian. The Register General of India is the sole custodian.
The Assam State Jamiat in a 62-page memorandum to the Union Home Secretary on June 7, 2021, charged that the present NRC Coordinator has no role except issuing Rejection slips and the RGI is the sole authority.
This is noteworthy that the NRC Coordinator has recently gone to the Supreme Court seeking direction alleging various mistakes in the NRC of Assam which was published in 2019 under the Supreme Court.
The memorandum said, “He (NRC Coordinator) is not a necessary and proper party in the NRC Monitoring Case And he is not the authorized official under law to make decisions about the Final NRC. Rather, it is the Registrar General of Citizen Registration who is the empowered authority under the Rules, 2003 framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955 to determine any action in relation to the Final NRC. The NRC Coordination Committee comprising of Union Home Secretary, Registrar General of Citizen Registration and others directed the State Coordinator to proceed to the stage of issuance of rejection slips for those excluded from the Final NRC but he has unilaterally decided to disobey the orders of his principal. It appears that, he filed the IAs before the Hon’ble Supreme Court for the sole purpose of overriding the statutory authority in the hands of the Registrar General of Citizens Registration, whom he is statutorily bound to obey.”
The memorandum also said, “that, the then State Coordinator who also worked as Director of Citizen Registration Shri Prateek Hajela carried out NRC exercise till the publication of Final NRC 31.08.2019 as per authorization of Registrar General of Citizen Registration and directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The incumbent State Coordinator Shri Hitesh Dev Sarma is specifically directed by the Registrar General of Citizens Registration to issue rejection slips to the excluded persons from Final NRC. But he is hell-bent take steps to discard the Final NRC without any authorization from the Registrar General of Citizen Registration. It is regretful that the incumbent State Coordinator seeking direct power/authority from the Hon’ble Supreme Court to circumvent the clear, sequential statutory scheme under the Rules, 2003 issued under the Citizenship Act, 1955 in total violation of Rule of Law, contravention of Legislative will and impinge upon Separation of Powers.”
The memorandum also said, unlike Shri Hajela, Shri Hitesh Dev Sarma has not been appointed as Nodal Officer to the Hon’ble Supreme Court for the purpose of NRC exercise. Therefore, Shri Dev Sarma has not been empowered to take any action independent of the Registrar General of Citizens Registration and he is simply an official of the State Government that must assist the Registrar General of Citizens Registration under Rule.5 of the Rules, 2003. Not being appointed as a Nodal Officer of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, Shri Dev Sarma cannot directly approach the Hon’ble Supreme Court in personal capacity to alter the next steps of NRC.
Accusing Mr. Sharma of malafide intention, the memorandum said, that, by way of filing IAs before the Hon’ble Supreme Court the incumbent State Coordinator not only imputes insincerity and mala fide to the Nodal Officer/the then State Coordinator but also expressly casts aspersions as to the role of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in monitoring the entire NRC exercise.
“This is a gross misrepresentation of the meticulous and judicious supervision and monitoring of the Hon’ble Court which was constantly updated on each and every issue arising with the preparation of the NRC and is a grave attack on the competence of the Hon’ble Court, which cannot be countenanced. An examination of the background and manner of preparation of the NRC, Assam will reveal the active and diligent role of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in carefully monitoring each stage, conducting a judicial balancing of all interests, and ensuring a timely publication of Final NRC”.