Arguments: 6 January 2020
The Supreme Court continuously monitored the drafting of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam until it was published on 31 August 2019. The NRC is a list of all Indian citizens living in Assam. The final list excluded roughly 19 lakh Assamese residents, effectively labelling them as illegal migrants.
Despite the final list having been published, the Court continues to monitor the implementation of the NRC in Assam. Today, Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant briefly heard the matter.
Hitesh Dev Sarma's Facebook Posts
Today, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal raised concerns over statements made by new NRC State Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma on social media in 2018. Mr. Sarma was appointed as the new State Coordinator in November 2019. Sr. Adv. Sibal noted that the statements conferred a bias and questioned why he was appointed as State Coordinator.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta noted that the NRC exercise is finished. Chief Justice Bobde remarked that regardless Mr. Sarma should not been making these comments and directed him to file a reply.
Issues relating to children
Sr. Adv. Sibal stated that children below the age of 14 years cannot be included in the NRC. He requested the Court to issue notice in the SLP filed to address this issue.
The Bench then addressed IA 181511, wherein the issue of children being sent to detention centres was raised. In particular, the IA refers to 60 children who have been excluded from the final NRC list, but whose parents have been included.
Attorney General KK Venugopal stated that these children will not be sent to detention centres, pending further consideration.
Chief Justice Bobde recorded KK Venugopal's statement in the Court's order and then directed the Union to file a reply within four weeks.