NEW DELHI, Sept 19 - The process of claims and objection for inclusion of names in the National Register of Citizen (NRC) will commence from September 25, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
A Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman said that the process of claims and objection would remain open, tentatively, for a period of 60 days. �We make it clear that insofar as filing of claims and objections are concerned it will remain open for the claimants to rely on any one or more of the 10 documents,� the court ruled.
�This we are doing as a matter of concession,� the court remarked, citing recommendation by Assam NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela.
When Attorney General KK Venugopal questioned the rationale behind excluding five identity documents, Justice Nariman said, �We find these five documents can be manufactured... and the possibility of the misuse of documents is enormous.�
The five documents are NRC 1951, electoral rolls up to March 24, 1971, citizenship certificates and refugee registration certificate, certified copies of pre-1971 electoral roll, particularly those issued from Tripura, and ration cards.
�State NRC Coordinator, Prateek Hajela will offer his views on the permissibility of introduction of any one or more of the five documents, at this stage of the update process, in the light of the changed stand of the Union government,� the Bench said.
The order further said that views of Hajela in terms of the present order be filed within 15 days from today in a sealed cover to the registry of the court. Further orders will follow on the next date fixed.
The Centre and Assam government today again sought a copy of the Hajela�s report, which was handed over to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover. �We have also considered the confidential report filed by Hajela. Though Attorney General KK Venugopal has stated that a copy of the report be made available to the Centre, we are of the view that having regard to the sensitive nature of some of the information contained therein which may affect the entire exercise undertaken and also the exercise that may be required to be undertaken by the court, the report should remain in the custody of the court for the present,� the court said.
The Attorney General sought to know the rationale of the court not sharing the report that Hajela had submitted to the court earlier. �We are happy you asked us. There are some material in the report which is not in public interest. Their disclosure will impede the further course of action. We have to protect Hajela,� Justice Gogoi said.
As Venugopal said that the report was safe if given to the government, Justice Gogoi said, �Is there any doubt about the safety of the document? If not more it is as safe.�
If the government is aware of the information and if it comes out others will know it as well, bench said, adding the request of the Attorney General would be considered on the next date fixed. �In the meantime, we direct Hajela not to share any information pertaining to the ongoing exercise of the updating of the NRC with any executive, legislative or judicial authority of the State without the leave of the court,� it said.
The case is listed for hearing on October 25.
Salman Khurshid, who appeared for the All Assam Minority Students Union, was permitted to submit in writing the pleas that he would like to urge at the time of hearing of this application on the next date fixed.