SC directs start of submitting claims for inclusion in NRC (Lead)
New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the commencement of the process of submitting claims and objections for inclusion of names in Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft list from September 25.
A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said the claims for inclusions in NRC would be backed by 10 identity documents which were permitted by the court on Wednesday.
"This we are doing as a matter of concession," the court said citing recommendation by the state coordinator Prateek Hajela and the Union of India.
The 10 identity documents are out of the 15 that were suggested by the state coordinator that around 40 lakh people can produce staking their inclusion in the citizens register.
The court said that it was "putting on hold" the other five identity documents.
The entire process of making claims for inclusion in NRC will last 60 days, the court said.
on the remaining five identity documents that did not find favour with the court but were insisted upon for inclusion in the identity documents, the court said these would be open for consideration at a later stage after an assessment of the ground reality 30 days after the commencement of filing of claims by the left out people.
As Attorney General K.K. Veugopal questioned the rationale of excluding the five identity documents, Justice Nariman said, "We find these five documents can be manufactured and the "possibility of the misuse of documents is enormous."
The Attorney General said that the "legacy and the family tree can also be bought."
Finding AG representing the Centre in a combative mode telling it that what was excluded was a statutory requirement under the Citizenship Act, the court reassuringly said, "We have not shut the door. At this stage we are going to receive the documents and review the situation after 30 days. After that we can re-open for review the question and give them another 30 days."
Those who have one of the 10 documents, being permitted by it, can file claims and others can wait, the court said as the Attorney General said that the certified copy of the electoral rolls is a statutory document and can't be fudged.
The Attorney General sought to know the court's rationale of not sharing the report that Hajela had submitted to the court earlier containing recommendations for permitting second chance to the people left out of the NRC based on 15 identity documents.
"There is some material in the report which is not in public interest. Their disclosure will impede the further course of action. We have to protect the officer (Hajela)", said Justice Gogoi.
As Venugopal said that the report was safe if given to the government, Justice Gogoi said, "Is there any doubt about the safety of the document? If not more, it is as safe."
Asking Hajela to give his views on the issues flagged by the Centre and others, the court directed him not to share the information with anyone in the executive, legislature or other judicial wings.
The 10 identity proof documents that can be relied upon for submitting claim for inclusion in NRC include land documents, permanent residence certificate, life insurance policy of LIC, any licence/certificate issued by any government authority, documents showing service/employment under government or PSU, bank/post office account, birth certificate issued by competent authority, educational certificate issued by board/university and record/processes of judicial or revenue court.
The five identity documents excluded for now are the ration card, extract of NRC, 1951, extract/certified copy of electoral rolls up to the midnight of 24th March 1971, refugee registration certificate issued up to March 24, 1971, ration cards issued by competent authority with official seal and signature up to March 24, 1971 (midnight).
The next hearing is due on October 23.