At least two stakeholders in the Assam National Register of Citizens case have decided to approach the Supreme Court with fresh petitions, challenging the state NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma’s order to “delete” the names of “ineligible” persons from the final list.
“We have decided to file a fresh petition by the end of this month to challenge this order, which in a way tries to reopen the NRC when the final list has already been released last year. In our view, he cannot issue such an order since his appointment as the state NRC coordinator has also been challenged in the Supreme Court and the matter is sub judice,” said Rezaul Karim Sarkar, President of All Assam Minority Student Union (AAMSU).
Another petitioner, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, has also decided to approach the Supreme Court against the coordinator’s move, sources said.
Mr Sarma, earlier this month, wrote letters to deputy commissioners (DC) and district registrars of citizen registration (DRCR) in each of Assam’s 33 districts.
“As per reports received from your end, some names of ineligible persons belonging to the categories of DF (declared foreigners) / DV (doubtful voters) / PFT (pending in foreigners’ tribunals), along with their descendants, have found entry in the NRC,” he had written.
The final list, published in August last year, had excluded 19.22 lakh people out of the nearly 3.3 crore applicants.
The NRC rules did allow authorities to verify and delete wrongful inclusions (and exclusions) any time before the publication of the final list. However, the final list was published on August 31, 2019, and an online list was published two weeks later.
In February, however, the NRC authorities initiated what they called a “part of the post-final NRC publication process, to check if any ineligible category people” had been included.
The Assam government is planning to file a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court, seeking 20% sample re-verification of names included in the NRC.
Union Home minister Amit Shah had discussed the NRC issue with Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal last month.