The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed people who were excluded from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens in Assam to file their claims and objections from September 25. The process will tentatively go on for a period of 60 days, LiveLaw reported. The process was to begin from August 30 and end on September 28, but the top court postponed it last month and later deferred it further.
The draft, published on July 30, had left out nearly 40 lakh people, including some MLAs and a even a former chief minister. In August, state coordinator of the register, Prateek Hajela, said that those left out would get an opportunity to submit new sets of documents during the claims-and-objections process.
Claimants can rely on any 10 of the 15 documents to file claims and objections. The Centre had allowed 15 documents as part of the standard operating procedure. The court ordered Hajela to file a report on the feasibility of using the five excluded documents by the next hearing on October 23, according to The Hindu.
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.
The court on Wednesday told Hajela to not submit his report to the Centre or anyone else. It is in public interest to not disclose the details of the report, the judges said, reiterating that Hajela should only submit it to the court.
The stated aim of the counting exercise is to separate genuine Indian citizens from “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.