NEW DELHI, July 23 - In view of the floods in Assam, the Supreme Court on Tuesday extended the deadline for publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) by a month � from July 31 to August 31. However, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman rejected the pleas seeking permission for 20 per cent sample reverification. The Centre and the Assam government sought permission for sample reverification to find out wrongful inclusions and exclusions of persons in the NRC.
The order was passed by the apex court after it perused the reports filed by the Assam NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela. The court has fixed the next date of hearing in the case on August 7.
The court stated that it found no necessity to carry out reverification of data after the State Coordinator Prateek Hajela also took the position that he did not find the necessity for the reverification exercise.
The Assam government was represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, while Attorney General KK Venugopal argued for the Centre.
In its order, the Supreme Court said that at the outset, it will take the view that having regard to the grounds on which the State Coordinator in his report has sought for extension of time up to August 31 for publishing the final NRC, extension prayed for should be allowed.
The State Coordinator in his report dated July 10 has further submitted that he may be permitted to combine the provisions of clauses 4(3), 4(5), 5 and 6 of the Schedule to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. �Having regard to the grounds on which the said proposal has been made, we deem it proper to allow the same,� the court said.
�We make it clear that in view of the exercise being time bound, it may not be possible for the court to accept any prayer for adjournment of the matter. We have also taken note of the prayers made on behalf of the Union of India and the State of Assam for a sample reverification of a limited percentage of the exercise done so far to take care of wrongful inclusions and exclusions,� the bench stated.
�In this regard, we have taken note of our previous order dated August 28, 2018, whereby we had kept the issue alive. We have also read and considered the response of Hazela, the Coordinator on this aspect of the matter and specifically, the stand taken by him in his report dated July18 this year, which is to the effect that in the course of consideration of the claims, verification to the extent of 27 per cent has already been done,� the court said.
In fact, in his report, the NRC Coordinator has mentioned district-wise figures of such reverification that has become an integral part of the process of consideration of the claims and objections on account of the procedure adopted. �In that view of the matter, we do not consider it necessary to accede to the prayers for a further sample verification as prayed for on behalf of the Union of India and the State of Assam. No further orders in the matter would be called for at this stage,� the bench ruled.
Meanwhile, Assam Public Works working president Abhijeet Sharma told newsmen outside the court that they had appealed for the reverification of NRC draft in 22 districts, especially in Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Chirang, South Salmara, Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamrup, Kamrup Metro, Darrang, Udalguri, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Morigaon, Nagaon, Hojai, Golaghat, Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi.
All Assam Students� Union chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said they are confident that the Supreme Court will help in preparing an error-free NRC and the people of Assam will get justice.