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Draft NRC may be completed by March 31

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Jan 13 - The work on the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) is now likely to be completed by March 31, NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajeela informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Resuming hearing on the NRC update case, a Division Bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman directed the State Government to put on hold the Election Commission�s order of transferring officials, who have completed three years, said Assam Public Works advocate and petitioner Arvind Kumar Sharma.

About the EC�s order to the State Government to transfer its officials who have completed three years, the Supreme Court requested the Government of Assam put to hold the transfer orders for some months, said Sharma.

The Supreme Court further directed the State Government to continue to accord top priority to the NRC update work.

The Court directed the Coordinator to follow its previous orders and stated that all employees have to work for NRC process, besides their normal official engagements, said Sharma.

Hajeela informed the Court that he would try his best to complete the draft NRC work by March 31. He also updated the Court about the ongoing verification process, the advocate informed.

The Supreme Court advised Hajeela that there is no need for haste and the data collected should be verified very carefully.

Hajeela further informed the Bench that a huge number of documents, including PAN cards, passports, and birth certificates among others, are being verified. Some documents have been received from neighbouring States, like Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Nagaland, among others. He mentioned in particular that he has received birth certificates from Nagaland.

The Coordinator intimated the Supreme Court that he is in constant touch with the concerned offices of other States for verification purpose.

The Supreme Court, thereafter, ordered the Chief Secretaries of the concerned States to cooperate with the NRC verification work. The Court also directed the Union Finance Ministry and Ministry of External Affairs to cooperate with the State Government.

Meanwhile, All Assam Students� Union (AASU) adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya has welcomed the Supreme Court�s direction to the State Government to accord top priority to the NRC update work. �The AASU wants the Supreme Court to continue to take such active initiative in the matter,� he said.

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