The Supreme Court on July 31, 2018 ruled that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) prepared for State of Assam was only a draft, and hence it cannot be the basis of any action by any authority against anyone.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman observed that what has been published is only the Complete Draft NRC.
The Court passed the order following the increasing concerns about the exclusion of approximately forty lakh persons from the final draft list of NRC that was published on July 30, 2018.
• The apex court directed the concerned Ministry to formulate Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to deal with claims and objections regarding the draft NRC.
• The Centre has been mandated to place the SOP before the court by August 16, 2018 for approval and the SOP should be giving reasonable opportunity to contest exclusion of people.
• A local registrar needs to give notice to those who have filed claims and objections, and give them reasonable opportunity for hearing.
Information given by NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela
The Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) coordinator Prateek Hajela placed before the court its status report giving details of publication of the draft NRC.
Hajela told the court that the claims and objections with regard to inclusion and exclusion in the NRC could be filed from August 30 to September 28, 2018. The draft NRC is being made available to the people till August 7 to see whether their names are there or not.
Exclusion from NRC doesn’t mean removal from electoral roll: Election Commission
The Election Commission of India has also made some clarifications after the release of Draft NRC without the names of over 40 lakh people.
The Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat clarified that the electoral roll is governed by a separate law and exclusion from the final NRC would not mean “automatic removal” from Assam’s voters’ list.
A voter, despite his or her absence from the final NRC, will continue to remain on the state’s electoral roll, if he or she can prove three things to the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) with sufficient documents.
3 things people need to prove to the ERO are:
The ECI is all geared up to face these three scenarios:
1) The registered voters in the state, who are also in the final NRC, will remain unaffected.
2) Voters, who are absent from the final NRC but have managed to get a stay from a tribunal or court, will also continue to be on the electoral roll.
3) Those who are neither in the final NRC nor have challenged their exclusion in court, it will be the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) who will decide their fate based on criteria laid down in the Representation of People Act, 1950.
Meanwhile, the ECI has directed the Assam Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to coordinate the summary revision of Assam’s electoral roll with the process of claims and objections to the draft NRC. The electoral roll will be published on January 4, 2019.
National Register of Citizens
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a list that contains names of Indian citizens of Assam. It was last prepared after Census in 1951.
Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951.
The recently updated draft of the NRC includes the names of Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971.
Final Draft of NRC
The Assam government on July 30, 2018 released the second and final draft of the state’s National Register of Citizens (NRC).
As per the Draft, the total number of persons included in the list is 2,89,83,677 leaving a total of 40,70,707 as ineligible for inclusion. Out of 40,70,707 names, 37,59,630 names have been rejected and 2,48,077 names are kept on hold.
First Draft of NRC
The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on December 31, 2017 and it incorporated the names of 1.9 crore people out of the total 3.29 crore applicants.
The top court had earlier said that the claims of those citizens, whose names do not figure in the draft NRC for Assam published on December 31, 2017 would be scrutinised and included in the subsequent list, if found genuine.
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