NEW DELHI, July 2 - The Supreme Court today extended the deadline for publication of the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) till July 30. The case will now come up for further hearing on July 31.
A Bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Fali Nariman extended the June 30 deadline as the NRC authority could not be adhere to the timeline in the wake of floods in Assam.
The extension of one month was given after the Bench went through the report submitted by the NRC State Coordinator Prateek Hajela, pointing to difficulties being encountered due to the flood situation in the State.
Devastating floods hit Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts in the Barak valley as well as parts of upper Assam and the north bank of the Brahmaputra river that have claimed over 30 human lives.
Hajela had submitted a confidential report in a sealed cover before the Bench based on which the apex court gave some directions today.
The Bench permitted deletion of 1.50 lakh names that were included in the draft of part NRC published in early 2017, but later on scrutiny were found to be ineligible to be included in the citizens register.
The names of 64,000 doubtful voters and 4,500 foreigners will be kept on hold and their descendants will be identified, the Bench ruled.
The State government conveyed to the Bench that they would go along with the application made by Hajela, while the Attorney General also mentioned that the Centre supported the NRC State Coordinator�s plea.
The Bench also said that the intervention petitions filed by the All Assam Minority Students Union and the Assam State Jamiat Ulema, seeking one more opportunity to make submissions before the NRC authority as some errors may have crept in, would be taken up at an appropriate time.
�We will consider all the interlocutory applications and other related matters on July 31,� the Bench said.
Reacting to today�s development, the AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said the Supreme Court�s initiative will go a long way in preparation of a foreigner-free NRC. �The AASU hopes that the apex court continues to monitor the exercise till the whole process is over,� he said.
Hailing the top court�s decision, Assam Public Works president Aabhijeet Sarmah said that on July 30, Assam will get an illegal Bangladeshi-free NRC.
AGP vice president Kumar Deepak Das, who attended the Supreme Court�s hearing, said the apex court�s direction today will put an end to all the recent controversies generated over the NRC update exercise.
Meanwhile, yet another writ petition filed by Congress MLAs Kamalakshya Deb Purkayastha and Nurul Huda came up for hearing before a Bench headed by Justices Naveen Sinha and Arun Mishra. The petitioners had pleaded that the families of those declared as foreigners by Foreigners Tribunals and �D� voters should not be kept out of the NRC.
The Bench, however, observed that as a similar matter was pending before another Bench it would refer the petition to the Chief Justice of India for further action.
The top court had earlier said that the claims of those citizens, whose names do not figure in the draft NRC for Assam published on December 31 last year, would be scrutinised and their names included in the subsequent list, if found genuine.