The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred the date for the commencement of the claims and objections to the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens from August 30, IANS reported. The process was meant to begin from August 30 and end on September 28.

The court said it wanted to clarify the contradictions in the claims and objections procedure. The court also ordered a re-verification of 10% of the people who were included in the draft list as a sample survey to ensure there were no discrepancies in the draft, according to PTI.

The July 31 draft left out nearly 41 lakh people, including some MLAs and a former chief minister. The state coordinator of the register, Prateek Hajela, said earlier this month that people left out from the list would get an opportunity to submit fresh sets of documents during the upcoming claims-and-objections process.

The Supreme Court bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman also directed Hajela on Tuesday to submit a report detailing the ramifications of giving another opportunity to the people left out of the final draft. It also asked Hajela why those who want to be included in the final list need to submit new documents, according to ANI. Hajela was told to submit the report by September 4, and the court will next hear the matter on September 5.

During the previous hearing on August 16, the Supreme Court had asked Hajela to submit a detailed report on the people excluded from the draft document in a district-wise categorisation. On August 7, the court had rebuked Registrar General of India Shailesh and Hajela for speaking to the media about the draft document without informing the top court first.

The register

The stated aim of the counting exercise is to separate genuine Indian citizens from so-called illegal migrants who might be living in the state. According to the terms of the exercise, anyone who could not prove that they or their ancestors had entered the state before midnight on March 24, 1971, would be declared a foreigner.

Launched in 2015, it involved processing the applications of 3.29 crore people who hoped to be included in the register. Over the course of three years, the mammoth exercise has been through several controversies, including allegations of bias against certain communities.