On May 10, after being sworn in as the Chief Minister of Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma had said in a press conference that he wanted 20 percent reverification of the NRC in border districts and 10 percent reverification in the remaining districts.
Lately, Hitesh Sharma, the State Coordinator of Assam NRC filed an appeal in the Supreme Court urging the Court to pass appropriate directions for a “complete, comprehensive and time-bound re-verification” of the NRC published in 2019. Sharma argues in his application that there were anomalies in the 2019 publication, which has led to ineligible persons being included in the list.
In his application, he says “…several serious, fundamental and substantial errors have crept into the process of updating NRC in Assam. This has vitiated the entire exercise and the present draft and supplementary list for inclusion and exclusion of NRC that has been published is not free from errors. Thus, the draft NRC needs to be revisited by ordering a comprehensive and time bound re-verification of the same.”
Sharma has appealed for the re-verification of the Assam NRC to be done under the supervision of a monitoring committee comprising the district judge, the district magistrate and the police chief in respective districts.
Sharma told the Court that around 50,000 persons were found eligible to be included in NRC although their names were excluded from the draft NRC. He added that the figure may increase if a comprehensive re-verification of the NRC is done. Sharma in his application says that the names of those people must be included in the NRC for a flawless and complete NRC, failing which will render the NRC unacceptable.
In his interlocutory application filed before the Supreme Court on May 8, Sharma said that he considers it his sacred duty to apply his mind to the whole process instead of mechanically picking it up from where his predecessor had left. The existing task for Sharma in the NRC process is to issue rejection slips to the claimants whose claims were rejected during the claims and objections period to facilitate them to file their appeal before the Foreigners Tribunal.
As per Sharma, the NRC published in 2019 was not ‘final’. “The final NRC is yet to be published by the RGI [Registrar General of India] till date…. The rejection slips will be issued against proper rejection orders after the final publication NRC,” the petition said. Sharma lso says that the anomalies observed were reported to the RGI on multiple occasions but no decision was taken by the RGI.
This also comes after the RGI wrote to the Government of Assam stating that funds for the preparation of NRC were approved for the completion of the exercise until March 31 and sought a response as to why an additional sanction of Rs 3.33 crore per month beyond March 31 should be provided.
One of the main issues raised in the application was with respect to 3.93 lakh persons excluded from NRC (out of a total of 40 lakh) who did not file any claims and objections against the same.
The application said that after some sample analysis, 50,695 persons out of the 3.93 lakh were found to be eligible for inclusion in NRC under the categories 'Original inhabitants' or “Persons from other States’. It was added that the figure may increase if detailed re-verification is done
However, because these individuals did not raise an objection to their exclusion, they have no remedy left because as per clause 8 of the schedule under Citizenship Rules 2003 only those persons who are not satisfied with the results of claims and objections can appeal before the Foreigners Tribunal. Since these individuals did not take part in the claims and objections process, no appeal can now be made before the Foreigners Tribunal.