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Centre for revised SOP, modalities


NEW DELHI, Sept 20 - The Centre has called for revised modalities and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to deal with the claims and objection that may be filed to enable publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Central government�s affidavits filed with the Supreme Court on September 17, submitted that no de novo verification is proposed by the Government of India and that only the evidence in support of the claims will be examined during the stage of claims and objection, according to the laid down rules and procedures.

The contradiction in the SOP has been further examined by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with the State government, RGI and the State Coordinator for NRC and it is submitted that no change in the legacy person will be allowed at the stage of claims and objection. It is further reiterated that no change in the family tree declared by the applicant would be allowed.

Therefore, neither the legacy person nor the family tree can be changed by the applicant at the stage of claims and objection process.

The Supreme Court had on September 5 observed that they have considered the report of the NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela regarding the preparation of the modalities and SOP in dealing with claims and objection. The State Coordinator in his report had mentioned that only 10 of the 15 documents be permitted to be relied upon by the claimant in support of his claim to establish authenticity.

The Centre has argued that as the NRC of 1951 and electoral rolls were not completely available in the State, a list of additional documents, including citizenship certificate, refugee registration certificate and ration card as supporting documents were prescribed as authentic records for inclusion of names in the updated NRC.

Any change in the list of documents at this stage of claims and objections, therefore, may not give fair opportunity and may not provide natural justice to the applicants.

Yesterday, a Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman ordered that NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela will offer his views on the permissibility of introduction of any one or more of the five documents at this stage of the update process, in the light of the changed stand of the Union government.

The order further said that views of Hajela in terms of the present order be filed within 15 days in a sealed cover to the registry of the court. Further orders will follow on the next date fixed.

The Centre has proposed that there is no need to resubmit the documents already submitted by the applicants. The person filing claims may however submit an additional legacy document but it has to be an eligible and valid document.

The State government has proposed that any licence and certificate issued by the government authority of the relevant period may include any government receipts, notices, orders or records. Further, the Assam government has suggested that the Pension Payment Order (PPO) showing employment in the government before 1971 may be accepted as part of the legacy document, even if it is issued subsequent to 1971.

�These documents will be considered during examination of claims, subject to verification at the time of hearing,� the State government has proposed.

The Central government has said that it has not seen and is not aware of the contents of the report submitted by the NRC State Coordinator regarding sample reverification. It is submitted that the report submitted by the State Coordinator be made available to the Centre and the State government and before an order is passed by the Supreme Court.

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