The standard operating procedure for disposing of claims and objections to the National Register of Citizens in Assam was unveiled on Friday, more than a month after the filing process began.
“The standard operating procedure has been drawn with the objective that the process of claims and objections is fair and transparent and provides reasonable opportunity to all concerned,” according to a document that was released.
Last week, the Supreme Court said the process, which began on September 25, should finish by December 15. It also set a deadline of January 15 for issuing notices to claimants and February 1 for the verification of documents.
During the course of the hearings of claims and objections, the state government –
in collaboration with the Unique Identity Authority of India – will “undertake the process of biometric enrolment” of all applicants to the National Register of Citizens, according to the standard operating procedure document.
“The biometric enrolment in respect of persons who are part of claims and those persons objected upon will be distinctive and separate ID will be generated,” the document added. “Once the final NRC has been published such persons who are included in the NRC will be given the usual Aadhaar number as applicable to legal residents in the country. In case a person already has Aadhaar number who is also a part of the claim or objected upon, his Aadhaar number will be obtained.”
The final draft of the NRC, published on July 30, had left out nearly 40 lakh people, including some MLAs and a former chief minister. In August, the state coordinator of the register, Prateek Hajela, said those left out would get an opportunity to submit new sets of documents during the claims-and-objections process. People can file corrections to their names that are in the draft and also objections against suspected foreigners, he had added.
Claimants can rely on 15 documents, including the National Register of Citizens of 1951, the voter lists of 1966 and 1971, refugee registration certificates issued till 1971, ration cards issued till 1971, and ten legacy documents issued since the midnight of March 24, 1971.
Applicants have to prove that either they or their ancestor entered the country before midnight on March 24, 1971. They also have to prove their relationship with the pre-1971 ancestor, who is the legacy person.
The legacy person cannot be changed at this stage, according to the standard operating procedure. “Further, no change in the family tree declared by the applicant will be permitted at the stage of claims and objections,” the document added. “The list of legacy documents shall remain the same as it existed at the time of the original application.”
The exercise to form the register was launched in 2015, with 3.29 crore people applying to get their name on it. It has been through several controversies, including allegations of bias against certain communities.