SC seeks stakeholder’s views on SOP on NRC


The Supreme Court has sought the views of stakeholders including the All Assam Students Union (AASU), All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, on the modalities and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for filing and disposal of claims and objections regarding the National Register of Citizens (NRC), on Thursday .

It asked the state NRC coordinator to file in a sealed cover the data of district-wise percentage of population, excluded from the NRC draft in the state. The bench also decided not to seek the views of any political party in this regard.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman said it has considered the SOP for final NRC and wanted the views of all the stakeholders on it.
“At this stage without commenting on any of the modalities suggested on behalf of the Union of India in consultation with the Government of Assam, Registrar General of India and State Coordinator for NRC, we are of the view that the stakeholders ought to be given time until August 25, 2018 to indicate their views in the matter,” it said.
Besides AASU, AAMSU and the Jamat, the court sought views of stakeholders which include petitioners Assam Public Works, Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha (an indigenous peoples organisation of Assam), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Progressive), Indigenous Tribal Peoples Federation, All Assam Bhojpuri Parishad and the Joint Action Committee for Bengali Refugees.
It asked the Attorney General K K Venugopal and the state NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela as to who were the stakeholders whose views were taken earlier.

Hajela replied that there was a state sub-committee in 2012-13, which had taken the views of AASU, AAMSU and different political parties on the NRC issue.

The bench said it would not like to seek views of political parties on the issue this time.

The bench said that it has perused the Centre’s SOP and timeline but would not like to comment on it, except that the date for receipt of claims and objections from public on NRC, should be August 30.

The court said that as per the rules, the period for receipt of claims and objections should be 30 days.

It said that further dates given in the Centre’s SOP drafted in consultation with Registrar General of India and state NRC coordinator will be deliberated at a later stage after getting the views of stakeholders.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Assam, said that for the convenience of people, the copy of the draft NRC should be made available at panchayat offices in every village and all the deputy commissioners’ offices.

It said the forms for claims and objections will be made available by August 20 and directed the state NRC coordinator to make the copy of draft NRC available in all Panchayat offices and other places so these are freely available.

The bench also asked Hajela to make available a copy of report in sealed cover giving the percentage of the population in each district who have been left out of the final draft NRC and the percentage-wise data of the population excluded from draft NRC by August 25.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on August 28.


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