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Centre submits SOP to Supreme Court


NEW DELHI, Aug 14 - The Centre today told the Supreme Court that the list of eligible documents for legacy and linkage will remain the same as at the time of the initial application. The Centre submitted to the court a 19-page Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for disposal of claims and objections in the update process of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

According to the SOP, the process of informing public about non-inclusion of their names has started on August 10, capacity building of public making available blank claims and objection forms will begin on August 20, while receipt of claims and objections from public will take place between August 30 to October 28. Digitalisation and processing of forms will be undertaken between September 15 to November 20.

Issue and delivery of notice will start on November 20 and end on November 30. While conduct of hearing will start from December 15.

The Centre said that various organisations have made representations that adequate time period of at least three to four months be provided for filing the claims and objections. It had been initially proposed that the process of claims and objections will happen from August 30 to September 28.

However, it would be reasonable to give at least two months time for receiving claims and objections. The timeline has been drawn accordingly. The timeline is based on assumption that 2,500 Class-I officers will be deployed by the State government and five hearings per day will take place. The hearing will commence from December 15 and the timeline for their disposal can only be firmed up once the actual number of claims and objection received is known.

The Centre also made it clear that there will be no need to resubmit the documents already submitted by persons at the time of original application. They may, however, submit additional admissible documents, if considered necessary, by them in support of their claims.

Adequate time will be given during the stage of filing of claims and objections, issue of notices and hearings so that due diligence is done by the authorities during their disposal.

What is significant is that the SOP says that any person can make an objection for inclusion of name in the draft NRC giving ground for objection in the form specified and file documents, if any, in support of his objection. There is no restriction on the person for filing any number of objections. There is also no requirement of his being a local resident of the NSK.

The SOP stipulates that gaonburha certificates, private college certificates, birth certificates issued by authorities other than prescribed authorities of the state government and contemporary affidavits issued for the purpose of NRC are not official records for establishing linkage. Certificates issued by gaon panchayat secretary, circle officer, and lot mandal for males and unmarried women are not official records.

No fresh details of family tree will be taken during the filing of claims and objections. The family tree declared at the time of verification process, application process will remain valid for the purpose of claims and objections.

Claims where only married women are involved and have no linkage document other then gaon panchayat secretary certificates issued prior to August 2015, will be examined separately in accordance with the guidelines issued in its compliance to Supreme Court orders on the verification of gaon panchayat secretary certificates for married women. It will be ensured that the officers concerned follow the guidelines scrupulously by way of better capacity building and also providing adequate time for each hearing.

The citizens of India, who originate from other states in India and who do not have any origin in specified territory (Bangladesh) and have moved to Assam prior to March 24, 1971 or after will be included in the NRC if the citizenship of such persons is ascertained beyond reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of the authorities disposing of claims and objections.

Claims where only children (below 14) have been left out from the draft NRC while their parents have been included will be segregated and pre-claim verification undertaken by the CRCR to ascertain the shortcoming in linkage documents or any inconsistencies thereof.

The Centre has also informed that during the course of hearings, the State government in collaboration with the UIDAI will undertake the process of biometric enrolment of all the applicants of NRC. The biometric enrolment in respect of persons who are part of claims and those persons objected upon will be distinctive and separate IDs will be generated.

Once the final NRC has been published, such persons who are included in the NRC will be given the usual Aadhaar number as applicable to the legal residents in the country.

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