Guwahati, October 30: The Gauhati High Court has asked Assam’s Coordinator of National Register of Citizens (NRC) to explain how the names of some ineligible people crept into the update list of citizens released on August 31, 2019.
A Division Bench comprising judges Manojit Bhuyan and Soumitra Saikia directed Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma to submit an affidavit on the inclusion of such people within three weeks, The Hindu reported.
The directive was issued a week ago after the court heard a petition by Rahima Begum, a resident of Mukalmua in western Assam’s Nalbari district. A Foreigners’ Tribunal had in 2019 declared her as a non-citizen but she was among the 31.1 million out of 33 million applicants whose names were included in the NRC.
“This is not an isolated case. Let the Assam NRC Coordinator file a comprehensive affidavit and bring on record the situations along with necessary particulars, where inroads into the list may have been created by individuals, who are undeserving and not legally entitled to be included in it,” the court said.
The court also said that the affidavit should include details from all districts of Assam and not be restricted to Nalbari, the home district of the petitioner.
Sarma had in October 13 asked all deputy commissioners and district registrars of citizen registration to submit a list of ineligible people included in the NRC and to write the speaking orders for the deletion of such names from the citizens’ list.
The ineligible people were specified as belonging to the “categories of DF/DV/PFT along with their descendants have found entry to the NRC”. DF, DV and PFT expand to ‘declared foreigner’, ‘doubtful voter’ and ‘pending in Foreigners’ Tribunal’.
The Supreme Court had monitored the updating of the 1951 NRC. The list, prepared over five years and for an estimated expenditure of ₹1,600 crore, had excluded the names of 1.9 million applicants.
The NRC authority has not revealed how many “ineligible” people have been “erroneously” included in the list. But the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and NGOs batting for the rights of indigenous people have been demanding up to 100% re-verification of the NRC.