SILCHAR, Aug 24 - Expressing concern over the fate of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Congress MP from Silchar Sushmita Dev has criticised the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) submitted to the Supreme Court by the Central government which would deal with claims and objections for the final citizen register, saying �the procedure is clearly crafted contrary the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955�.
In a letter sent to Register General of India (RGI) Sailesh, Dev � who is also president of the All India Mahila Congress � underlined the point that the SOP which has been prepared with data from the office of the RGI has the provisions by which the person filing objection to the inclusion of names in the draft NRC would be unaccountable regarding correctness of his/her objection.
Also, the form for filing objections available on the NRC website does not have any column for mandatory submission of any evidence against the person whose citizenship is being challenged, which would trigger panic among people, she said.
As per the SOP, the person who comes up with objections against a genuine Indian citizen will not be hassled by any legal measures, Dev added.
�Such a lenient view taken in respect of the mischievous complaint, inter alia, gives the impression that the NRC update process is meant for excluding the names even as the ideal methodology should have been an inclusive one. Apart from the fact that such a provision in the SOP would surely go against the principle of natural justice, it will, in fact, infringe upon the fundamental right of the bonafide citizens of the country,� Dev said in the letter.
She urged upon the RGI to submit a supplementary affidavit on or before August 28 to the Supreme Court incorporating the penal provision as per the Citizenship Act, 1955 in respect of those who file false complaints/objections against inclusion of names in the draft NRC and also include therein the provision of mandatory submission of valid evidence in support of the objection against anybody.
Further, taking a potshot at the BJP-led government at the Centre and in the State, the Congress Parliamentarian said, �It is indeed very surprising that the collective wisdom of the Central government, Assam government and the NEC authority have failed the capture a serious legal lacuna in the SOP which they have developed. As per Section 17 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, such an offender is subject to harsh punishment like both pecuniary fine and imprisonment. But, by what power the Central government has suspended the operation of this section in the matter of supply of false and fabricated objection to a fellow citizen is not clear to anybody. As a result a position taken by the government the provision of filing objection will be grossly abused, thereby robbing credibility off the whole exercise of the NRC update.�