The apex court has now given 20 more days to complete the exercise whose 60-day deadline was supposed to end by November 25.
Guwahati: In a significant move, the Supreme Court on Thursday extended the deadline for filing claims and objections for those whose names were not included in final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam to December 15 and also allowed claimants to rely on five additional documents.
The five documents that have now been allowed by the apex court are the 1951 NRC, voter lists up to March 24, 1971, citizenship certificates, refugee registration certificates and ration cards issued prior to March 24, 1971. These will be in addition to 10 other documents allowed by the apex court on recommendation of NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela for checking nationality of applicants.
The apex court has now given 20 more days to complete the exercise whose 60-day deadline was supposed to end by November 25. Initially, the court had given 60 days for filing claims and objections beginning September 25. The top court has also fixed a timeline for issuance of notices to claimants as January 15, 2019, and verification of documents as February 1, 2019.
While allowing the use of five new documents on Thursday, a Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, rejected concerns of forgery raised by Mr Hajela initially.
Rejecting the contention of Mr Hajela, the bench said, “Your contention that refugees registration certificate, certified electoral rolls and ration card can be forged to stake claim cannot be sustained.”.
“Your contention that it’s better to exclude the genuine person than to include a wrongful person cannot be accepted. We don’t agree with you,” he said.
“The mere possibility of filing of forged documents or that such documents were filed in the earlier exercise cannot be a ground to exclude the same from the impending process of filing of claims and objections,” the bench said.
Many stakeholders, including Assam government, had demanded inclusion of all 15 documents in their affidavits but Mr Hajela insisted on using just 10 out of these.
The 10 documents already permitted by the Supreme Court as proof of citizenship include, land documents; permanent residential certificate issued from outside the state; passport; Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) insurance policy; any licence or certificate issued by any government authority; document showing service or employment under government or Public Sector Undertakings; bank or post office accounts; birth certificates issued by the competent authority; educational certificate issued by Boards or Universities; and records or processes pertaining to court, provided they are part of a processing in a judicial or revenue court.
Over 40 lakh people had been excluded from the final NRC draft published on July 30 and have been given an option to file fresh claims. In the second and final draft of the NRC, published on July 30, 2.89 crore of the 3.29 crore applicants were included. The names of 40.07 lakh applicants did not find a place in the final draft of the NRC, stated to be a proof of Assamese identity.
The NRC will include the names of all Indian citizens who have been residing in Assam before March 25, 1971.
The application process for the NRC started in May 2015 and a total of 6.5 crore documents were received from 68.27 lakh families across Assam.