NEW DELHI, Jan 29: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on two pleas against the actions of the new NRC Assam state coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma for reviewing and deleting names from the already finalised National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind and All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (AAMSU) had moved the apex court challenging the circular issued by Sarma in October 2020, which directed identification and deletion of names from the finalised NRC in Assam. Though the petitioners had initially filed contempt petitions against Sarma, the apex court in the previous hearing had asked for an amendment to the petitions by removing the prayer for initiating contempt.

On Friday, a bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde converted the amended contempt petition into interlocutory applications in the main matter (NRC monitoring bench) and issued notice returnable in four weeks.

The petitioners were represented by advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate-on-record Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi.

The petitioners urged the apex court to direct the NRC state coordinator not to take any steps of deletion of any included names from the final NRC. “The unilateral action of the state coordinator directing reverification and revisiting of completed stages in the process set out under the Schedule to the 2003 Rules will lead to unending delays in the finalisation of the NRC, in direct violation of the repeated orders of this court,” said the plea filed by Jamiat.

In October 2020, Sarma had directed all Deputy Commissioners and District Registrars of Citizen Registration (DRCR) in Assam, to delete the names of “ineligible persons belonging to the categories of DF (Declared Foreigner)/DV (D-Voters)/PFT (Pending cases before Foreigners’ Tribunal) along with their descendants” who were included in the final draft of the NRC, Assam, prepared under the constant monitoring of the top court.

The entire process to update the NRC in Assam was conducted under close monitoring of the Supreme Court, and after taking the views of all the stakeholders, this court ensured the final publication of the NRC, Assam on August 31, 2019.

“Despite the completion of this meticulous exercise under close monitoring by this court, the newly appointed state coordinator, Assam has unilaterally issued directions for deletion of ‘ineligible persons belonging to the categories of DF (Declared Foreigner)/DV (D-Voters)/PFT (Pending cases before Foreigners’ Tribunal) along with their descendants’ from the final NRC, Assam”, the plea contended, urging the top court to quash this direction by Sarma. – IANS