Arguments: 19 July 2019
Today, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Nariman continued to hear an application for extending the 31 July deadline of publishing the final list of National Register of Citizens (NRC).
On 16 July, the Union government and State of Assam both made an urgent mention before the court seeking an extension to carry out a sample re-verification process and exclude wrongly included ‘illegal migrants’ in the NRC. They submitted that they needed more time to create an error-free NRC and ease citizens’ apprehensions about the NRC’s accuracy. The state of Assam proposed that 20% sample re-verification be conducted in districts bordering Bangladesh or having a higher population growth than the state average. It proposed that a 10% sample re-verification process be conducted in all other districts.
Today, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended on behalf of the Union that the growing public perception was that many exclusions and inclusions have wrongly been made in the draft NRC and therefore it must be revised through sample re-verification. He added that India cannot become the refugee capital of the world and submitted that lakhs of persons in districts bordering Bangladesh have been wrongly included in the final draft of the NRC due to local officers’ involvement. He stated that the Union was committed to dealing strictly with illegal migrants.
Prateek Hajela, the NRC State Coordinator, also added that another month was needed to publish the final consolidated NRC. He submitted that on 31 July, a supplementary list of additional inclusions and final exclusions would be published. He stated that the final consolidated list would be ready by 7 September.
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi stated that the Assam NRC Coordinator’s report stated that nearly 80 lakh persons have already been re-verified through the process of disposing claims and objections. The NRC Coordinator was directed to submit a copy of this report to the Union government.
The next hearing is on 23 July.