NEW DELHI, Sept 19 - The Supreme Court has directed the Central and Arunachal Pradesh Governments to confer citizenship rights on the �eligible� Chakma and Hajong people besides taking steps to protect their lives and liberties and guard them against any discrimination.
Allowing the petition by the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas (CCRC) of Arunachal Pradesh, a division bench of Justice Anil R Dave and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the Government of India and Arunachal Pradesh Government to finalise the conferment of citizenship rights on eligible Chakmas and Hajongs.
Directing the compliance of its direction for the conferment of citizenship rights to Chakmas and Hajongs within three months from Thursday, the Court also directed the Centre and Arunachal Pradesh Government to �ensure compliance of directions for protection of their life and liberty and against their discrimination in any manner.
The Court ruled that the exercise for the grant of citizenship to Chakma and Hajong people may be �completed at the earliest preferably within three months from today.�
Stating that it found merit in the contention of the petitioner CCRC, Justice Goel pronouncing the judgment said, �It stands acknowledged by this Court on the basis of stand of the Government of India that the Chakmas have a right to be granted citizenship subject to the procedure being followed.�
�It also stands recognised by judicial decisions that they cannot be required to obtain any Inner Line Permit (ILP) as they are settled in Arunachal Pradesh�, the Court said.
�It is well known that the Chakmas and Hajongs were displaced from the area, which became part of East Pakistan (now in Bangladesh) on construction of Kaptai Dam and were allowed to be rehabilitated under the decision of the Government of India,� the Court said.
Referring to the earlier decisions of the apex Court, Delhi and Gauhati High Court, the judgment said, they need to be protected and their claims of citizenship need to be considered as per applicable procedure.