The Court will monitor the inclusion and exclusion of individuals in the updated National Register for Citizens of Assam so as to ensure that the NRC as mandated by the Assam Accord of 15 August 1985 may be published.
The division bench of Supreme Court comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi (then Justice) and Justice Rohinton Nariman is monitoring the NRC under the Citizenship Act 1955 and Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Card Rules) 2003.
Assam is the only Indian State that has an NRC (National Register for Citizens), a document, which contains the list of all Indian citizens in Assam bearing their name, address and photograph. Assam has a high number of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan). The Ministry of Home Affairs created the NRC in 1951 in order to distinguish citizens from illegal immigrants.
In 1985 the Assam Accord was signed, which mandated a second NRC. The Assam Accord ended the six-year-long Assam Agitation, which was a response to the large inflow of illegal immigrants during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.
The Assam Accord divided migrants into three groups: 1951-61; 1961-71 and after 1971.
The Assam Accord necessitated the formation of a second NRC for finding out the legal status of migrants in Assam. The NRC update process started in the year 2013 under the strict monitoring of Supreme Court of India.
On 30 July 2018, the complete NRC draft was released. Under the 30 July draft, a total of 3.29 crore applications were submitted. The draft accepted 2,89,83,677 people as Indian citizens and labeled 40,70,707 persons as illegal residents.
On 31 July 2018, the Supreme Court announced that the authorities will not take coercive action against the 4 million people, whose names did not figure in the NRC, on the grounds that the 30 July NRC was merely a draft.
On 14 August 2018, the Centre informed the Supreme Court that distinct IDs will be created for the 4 million people filing claims and objections against the 30 July draft. The distinct IDs will contain biometric information.
The Court directed that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for filing objections to the NRC list should be examined by stakeholders and petitioners in the current litigation. The Court named eight stakeholders — Assam Public Works, Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha (an indigenous people’s organisation of Assam), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Progressive), Indigenous Tribal Peoples Federation, All Assam Bhojpuri Parishad, Joint Action Committee for Bangali Refugees, All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (AAMSU) and Jamait Ulama-i-Hind – for the purpose.
On 31 August 2019, the final NRC list was published: 19,06,657 out of the 3,30,27,661 applicants were excluded. The Office of the State Coordinator published the list on its website.
1) Can the State Government publish the final NRC list by 31 July?
2) Has a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) been established to allow refiling of documents and address objections for residents excluded from the draft NRC list?