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Supreme Court raps government for ‘destroying’ NRC process

Published : Feb 6, 2019, 2:35 am IST
Updated : Feb 6, 2019, 2:35 am IST

CJI said even if 2,700 out of the available 3,000 paramilitary companies are required, there are still 300 companies of the CAPF left with the govt.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi (Photo: PTI)
 Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre for trying to destroy the verification process for preparation of the final National Register of Citizens now under way in Assam.

Making a strong observation against the Union home ministry, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Nariman told attorney-general K.K. Venugopal: “You are hell bent on destroying the process.” The bench refused to pass any order at this stage on the Centre’s request to suspend the verification process for two weeks on the ground that it could not provide 167 companies of Central forces for deployment in the coming elections.

The CJI asked the A-G: “Why do you want to withdraw the forces? It looks like you don’t want the NRC exercise to go on. We are left with no other option but to say that the ministry of home affairs does not want the NRC exercise to go on. We are very sorry to say that the impression the home ministry is giving is that it is not willing to continue with the NRC work. The entire effort of the MHA is to destroy the NRC process. We are sorry to say that.”

The A-G said the Central armed police forces comprising the CRPF and other paramilitary forces, now deployed in Assam for NRC work needed to be deployed in different parts of the country. He submitted that the “anticipated political atmosphere in the country would be surcharged during the elections, and it would not be conducive for the NRC exercise to go on during that period.”

The CJI said even if 2,700 out of the available 3,000 paramilitary companies are required, there are still 300 companies of the CAPF left with the government. ”Then why do you want to disturb the 167 companies deployed for NRC work? If you want the NRC work to go on, there are 1001 ways the Government of India can cooperate in completing the exercise. But the Government of India does not seem to be keen on completing the process.”

The CJI said: “We want that the elections must be held peacefully and in an orderly manner. We also want the NRC process to be completed in an orderly and peaceful manner. Both the processes (are) very important for the country.”

In its order, the bench directed the Centre and the Assam government to provide an adequate number of officials (that is 3,457), as indicated by the state coordinator, that consists of people of all ranks be kept for NRC work. The bench further requested the Election Commission to examine  the question of exempting an adequate number of senior officials from election work to ensure that the NRC process is not affected.

Tags: supreme court, national register of citizens, ranjan gogoi