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Supreme Court refuses re-verification of NRC process in Assam, orders exclusion list to be published online on August 31

Supreme Court said that like Aadhaar data, an appropriate procedure should be enacted for securing the Assam NRC data

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of India ordered that the list of those excluded from the final NRC in Assam should be published only online on August 31.

Hearing a plea of the government, the Supreme Court refused to re-open the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process in Assam and conduct a sample re-verification of data collected, especially in the border districts of the State where cross-border “infiltration” from Bangladesh is high.

Reportedly, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman said that like Aadhaar data, an appropriate procedure should be enacted for securing the Assam NRC data.

The apex court directed the government that only hard copies of lists of inclusions and exclusions should be provided at the district offices and the list of exclusions should be published only once.

On 17 July, the Centre and Assam government had approached the apex court seeking direction for 20% sample re-verification of names included in the final NRC draft in the districts of Assam bordering Bangladesh and 10% sample re-verification of names included in the final draft in the remaining districts.

Appearing for the Central government and the government of Assam in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) case, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the Supreme Court (SC) that India cannot be the refugee capital of the world.

Earlier in July, the Supreme Court had extended its July 31 deadline to August 31 for publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. The Supreme Court had extended the deadline after NRC coordinator sought more time to ensure that draft lists and the list of new names are published.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register containing names of all genuine Indian citizens. It was first prepared in 1951. The 1951 NRC list is being updated for Assam, which has had a longstanding illegal foreigner problem, to remove out illegal migrants and stop further inflow.

The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of December 31, 2017, and the second draft was published on January 1, 2018, in line with SC’s direction. Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were included in the first draft, while 2.9 crore people were included in the second draft, leaving around 40 lakh people out.

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