SC notice against Assam NRC coordinator

For reviewing and deleting names from the finalized National Register of Citizens (NRC), notices on two pleas were issued by the Supreme Court against new NRC Assam state coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma.

The circular issued by Sarma was taken to the apex court by Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (AAMSU) in October 2020.

Sharma in a notification had directed identification and deletion of names from the finalized NRC in Assam.

The apex court had asked for an amendment to the contempt petitions against Sarma by removing the prayer for initiating contempt in the previous hearing.

The amended contempt petition was converted into interlocutory applications in the main matter (NRC monitoring bench) by a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde on Friday, and issued notice returnable in four weeks.

Advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate-on-record Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi represented the petitioners.

The apex court was requested to order the NRC state coordinator, not to delete any included names from the final NRC.

“The unilateral action of the state coordinator directing re-verification and revisiting of completed stages in the process set out under the Schedule to the 2003 Rules will lead to unending delays in the finalization of the NRC, in direct violation of the repeated orders of this court,” said the plea filed by Jamiat.

In October 2020, Sarma had ordered all the Deputy Commissioners and District Registrars of Citizen Registration (DRCR) in Assam, to delete the names of “ineligible persons belonging to the categories of DF (Declared Foreigner)/DV (D-Voters)/PFT (Pending cases before Foreigners’ Tribunal) along with their descendants” who were added into the final draft of the NRC, Assam, prepared under the constant monitoring of the top court.

Supreme Court monitored the entire NRC process in Assam, and after all the stakeholders gave their views, the final publication of the NRC, Assam was made certain by the court on August 31, 2019.

“Despite the completion of this meticulous exercise under close monitoring by this court, the newly appointed state coordinator, Assam has unilaterally issued directions for deletion of ‘ineligible persons belonging to the categories of DF (Declared Foreigner)/DV (D-Voters)/PFT (Pending cases before Foreigners’ Tribunal) along with their descendants’ from the final NRC, Assam”, the plea contended.