How Thousands of Assam’s Young may be rendered Citizenship-less: NRC

Written by Zamser Ali | Published on: July 27, 2019
Hajela’s affidavit before the SC evokes a sharp reaction

Guwahati, July 27, 2019: The latest order from the Supreme Court on the vexatious NRC issue, passed on July 23, 2019 has evoked a strong reaction from the ruling party at both the state and centre, especially because it refused their request (made on affidavit) for the re-verification of 20% of the NRC documents collected during the Claims and Corrections process from the border districts of Assam and a similar 10% re-verification in the state’s other districts.

The Order may be read here.

Likewise the main applicant in the case, Assam Public Works also reacted sharply on the issue as the Supreme Court denied their request for a further re-verification of 100% of the NRC documents from the names of those who made it to the final draft NRC. The ground for the SC’s refusal to grant this prayer was because 27% of re- verification has already been completed so far.

Though the ruling party and the private petitioner, Assam Public Works, have expressed public displeasure at the Supreme Court’s latest order, all other democratic organisations and individuals, including those belonging to religious and linguistic minorities, have come out strongly in favour of the order. According to them, the demand for re-verification is nothing but an attempt to dilute the entire NRC process by the present government and to harass the genuine Indian citizens under the garb of repeated hearings.

Nevertheless, some crucial issues that are reflected in the order of Supreme Court of July 23, will have serious implications in the near future.

The Supreme Court order quoted paragraphs 7, 7a, 7b, 7c and 8 of the affidavit submitted by Pratik Hajela, the state co-ordinator for the NRC on which he seeks the opinion of the highest court.

The paras that cited by Pratik Hajela came out in the public domain as the office of the NRC was compelled to issue a public notice on the issue, following the directions of the Court.

The public notice may be read here.


Through this pubic notice it appears Prateek Hajela, the state co-ordinator for NRC, is not only seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court on certain issues but has also made clear his own stance and opinion.

It may be worthy of mention here that the entire process under which the NRC is being completed is under the legal framework laid down under the Citizenship Act, 1955, the Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2003 and the Modalities prepared in the process for updating NRC.

However, as paragraphs 7 and 8 reveal, Hajela’s affidavit and subsequent public notice reveal, both militate against both the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship Rule, 2003.

Advocate Mrinmoy Dutta of Gauhati High Court states, “Clause 7 (a) of the affidavit is contrary to Citizenship Act. The clause 7(c) will create a humanitarian crisis in the State of Assam as it will specifically affect minor children.”

With regards to paragraph 8 of the affidavit advocate Mrinmoy Dutta is of the opinion that “all people cleared by IM(DT) must be included in updated NRC. However, they may require to clear themselves in the NRC process also.”  
 
The basic issue - - as revealed in the most recent public notice by the Co-ordinator - -  is that the entire process of updating NRC has been derailed.