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Supreme Court Extends NRC Deadline From July 31 To August 31

The apex court, however, rejected to the state and Union govt’s demand for sample re-verification of border districts.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 23, extended the deadline to publish the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list for Assam from July 31 to August 31.

Last week, both the Centre and the Assam government had filed identical but separate applications to the apex court seeking “sample re-verification” of 20 per cent of the population in districts bordering Bangladesh, stating, “India cannot be the refugee capital of the world.” Both applications claimed that many names had been wrongly included and excluded from the draft NRC. Thus a sample re-verification, per them, had become necessary to quell the “growing perception” that lakhs of “illegal immigrants” may have infiltrated the list, especially in districts bordering Bangladesh — Cachar, South Salmara, Karimganj and Dhubri.

In the court, Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta reportedly stated that the error percentage in the border districts suspiciously low — they claimed that lakhs of people had been wrongfully included in the NRC, especially in districts bordering Bangladesh due to the involvement of local officers in the massive exercise.

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As per a report in The Hindu, however, a Special Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton F Nariman did not accede to their “fervent” pleas for re-verification. In fact, on being questioned by the bench, Prateek Hajela, the court-appointed NRC Coordinator stated that in his view, a sample re-verification was not necessary. 

The Supreme Court further directed the NRC coordinator to publish a public notice asking all stakeholders to appear before the top court on August 7 at 3 pm to raise their issues regarding the NRC. All petitioners, who had approached the court with their issues, will now be heard on August 7, the Supreme Court said.

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The process of preparation of the NRC in Assam has pushed suffering on lakhs of people running pillar-to-post to prove their citizenship or that of their family members. The Supreme Court-monitored NRC process has been criticised as inherently discriminatory against ethnic and religious minorities. There have been reports of people committing suicide upon finding their names missing from the draft list or being added to the additional exclusion list. The draft list excluded around 40 lakh people and the additional exclusion list took this tally up by 1 lakh people.

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