NEW DELHI, May 30 - The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the State Coordinator to follow due procedure in the adjudication of claims and objections in respect of National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam and not rush through the process to meet the deadline of July 31.
A vacation bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Aniruddha Bose told State Coordinator Prateek Hajela that even though the July 31 deadline for publication of the final Assam NRC has to be adhered to, the claims and objections must be dealt with as per the law.
�Your (Hajela�s) job is to ensure that hearings on claims and objections are done in a fair and proper manner. There is a deadline and a time frame. Just because there is a time frame that does not mean that your officers will cut short the process to complete it,� the bench said, adding, �Merely disposing of 70 per cent claims till today is not good unless the disposal is properly done. Please ensure that.�
The application for intervention filed on behalf of the All Assam Students Union stands allowed, the court order said.
The court allowed the Government of Assam to include retired civil servants of the rank of Additional Secretary or Secretary with judicial experience in the process for selection of members to the additional foreigners tribunals stipulated to be set up.
Along with the cases concerning the Assam NRC, the court is also hearing another plea calling for update of the NRC for Tripura. In Tripura�s case, the petitioners have submitted that it is necessary to update the NRC to identify illegal immigrants, delete their names from voters� lists, and subsequently, deport them from India to restore the �socioeconomic, sociocultural and sociopolitical equilibrium of Tripura.� The court had issued notice in this case in October last year.
Referring to �disturbing� media reports regarding the procedure to deal with NRC claims and objections, the bench said �although the media is not always correct, sometimes it is right as well.�
CJI Gogoi presumably referred to reports of a Kargil war veteran being declared a foreigner and said, �Ask your officers to follow the proper procedure in dealing with the claims and objections, and give proper hearing to people on claims and objections,� the bench told Hajela.
The apex court said it has gone through the progress report filed by the State Coordinator in the matter and the work is going on. The CJI told Hajela to coordinate with district-level officers who are involved in the process of dealing with claims and objections so that a proper procedure is adopted.
The bench told him that if he faces any difficulty or pressure from anybody, he can approach the secretary general of the apex court and the matter would be taken up for hearing by the court.
In its order, the bench noted that all claims and objections will be heard and accordingly disposed of well in time to ensure the publication of the final NRC for Assam by July 31 this year. �While doing so, the State Coordinator will ensure that all the affected parties will get a fair opportunity of hearing,� it said.
The bench said the matter will come up for hearing immediately after the summer vacation of the court in July.Duliajan, Teli has passed higher secondary from Duliajan. He was a two-term member of Assam Assembly and was elected to Lok Sabha in 2014. He was member of the Standing Committee on Industry and member of the Consultative Committee on Ministry of DoNER.