The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the Centre’s plea to extend the deadline for the publication of the final National Register of Citizens in Assam, PTI reported. The top court ordered the government to publish the document by May 31.

Assam began to update the National Register of Citizens in 2015 to create a definitive list of citizens of the state and root out illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The Assam government published the first draft of the National Register of Citizens – a list of verified Indian citizens – at midnight on January 1. The Supreme Court had set December 31, 2017, as the deadline for the publication of the first draft. No one at this stage has been declared an illegal migrant who will eventually be deported.

The bench rejected Attorney General K K Venugopal’s contention that it was “physically impossible” to complete the work by May 31. “Mr Attorney General what everybody thought was a big joke, has been turned into a reality,” the bench comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman said. “Our business is to make [the] impossible possible and we will do it.”

The bench ordered the National Registry of Citizens work to continue with “full deployment” of staffers even during the upcoming panchayat and local body elections in March and April. The court turned down the request to appoint an additional state coordinator for registry work while stressing that current coordinator Prateek Hajela’s services was adequate to complete the exercise.

The next hearing is on March 27.