Summary of Arguments on Day 3 (8th March 2017)

On 8th March 2017, Mr. P.S. Patwalia, the Additional Solicitor General presented the status report of border fencing. Mr. Patwalia made the statement that a work order has been issued for some stretch of the Indo-Bangladeborder and work would commence soon. He also submitted that re-tenders had been issued for certain other stretches. The bench directed that the task of border fencing the 13.38 km stretch should commence in the right earnest and asked Mr. Madhukar Gupta, who is heading the Committee on border fencing to submit the first of periodic reports within four months. The court also directed Mr. Patwalia to share the border fencing plan with all the parties, dismissing his argument that it might endanger national security.

The counsel for Assam Government also informed the Supreme Court that it would not appeal against the Guwahati High Court’s decision on Feb 28, which held that residency certificates issued by panchayats would not be considered as valid documents for NRC. The NRC office had received over 45 lakh residency certificates from panchayats which established links from residents to their parents, who were registered in 1951 census. The NRC co-ordinator raised the issue of de-recognition of such link documents and sought to know the way forward. The bench noted that the schedule for completion of the NRC should not be affected and asked NRC to look at those “45 lakh cases” later.