NEW DELHI, July 31 - The Centre today said that it is thinking of using biometrics in the National Register of Citizen (NRC) update exercise in Assam to prevent influx to neighbouring states.
Attorney General KK Venugopal made a mention about it before the Supreme Court Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Fali Nariman, which remarked that it is not going into this now, asking the government to first submit the standard operating procedure (SOP). �...at the moment we don�t express any opinion. Our silence should not be construed as agreement or consent,� Justice Gogoi said.
However, the Attorney General continued and said: �They fear that there might be influx to neighbouring states... that is why we are thinking of using biometrics.� Venugopal also requested the top court to issue orders for no coercive action unless full opportunity is granted to everyone.
The Supreme Court said the NRC is a draft report and no authority can take any action. All those whose names haven�t been included in the list must get a fair chance to prove their claims. The apex court made it clear that publication of the draft NRC can�t form the basis of action against anyone by authorities and that the legal process will have to be followed after giving due opportunity to those whose names are missing.
The apex court told the Centre and NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela to ensure that the 40 lakh people whose names are not in the list get treated fairly. It asked the Centre to make an SOP in this regard and submit it in court. The SOP will have details of the process by which people who are not in the list may file claims and objection. The Attorney General said he would submit it by mid-August.
The next hearing will be held on August 16.
The Supreme Court clarified that a revision of the draft NRC will take place and as per rules, people whose names are not in the list, may file claims and objection with the registrar. The registrar will send notice to the individual who will then submit documents. The registrar will have to give appropriate hearing to each individual and then take a decision, the apex court said.
The Supreme Court also said that if there is any problems in the SOP then it will pass order accordingly.
The State Coordinator of NRC Prateek Hajela informed the court that mostly gazetted officers are involved in the process of revision. On a question by Justice Gogoi about how much time it will take to publish the final NRC, saying that �we have read somewhere that it will be published by December 31,� Hajela said, �We have not fixed any date.�
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said �We want the Supreme Court to monitor the entire process.� On West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee�s outburst, he said the Trinamool Congress without realising the ground reality has been making wild statements. �They should act responsibly. We are not against Indians,� he added.
�Standing in Delhi, we want to tell Mamata Banerjee that India is for Indians and not for foreigners. Assam is for Indians and not for illegal Bangladeshis. Indian Bengalis have no reason for apprehensions. The issue should not be politicised. There should be no appeasement politics. We are also Indians and we don�t want to be ruled by Bangladeshis. They should realise this,� he said.