The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed criticism in the Assam Legislative Assembly about the National Register of Citizens process. The top court said the process must be completed by August 31, PTI reported.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman referred to the report of NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela about the statements made in the Assam Assembly about leakage of information.
“You have drawn our attention about the statement made by the leader of opposition regarding revealing of information in the Assembly and also about press statement by Santanu Bharali on the issue of secrecy of the data,” the bench told Haleja. Bharali is the legal advisor to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
“As far as the statement of the leader of opposition is concerned, we do not need to go into it,” the court told Haleja. “When some orders are being passed by the judges or the court, some people criticise them. Our orders, our actions are being subjected to debates and criticism every moment. We are not bothered by it. If we will go into all this, we will never complete the task.”
Haleja told the court that around 33,000 people from Kamrup district have to be verified following complaints about the inadequacy of notices issued.
Last month, the Supreme Court had extended the deadline for the publication of the final National Register of Citizens for Assam from July 31 to August 31. The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman, however, declined petitions by the Centre and the Assam government seeking time to conduct a “sample re-verification process” of the names included in the draft National Register of Citizens published on July 30, 2018.
Hajela had pointed out that the exercise had hit a roadblock because of floods in the state, and requested an extension of the deadline to publish the database. He said he would need about a month to publish the final list but would be able to come up with a supplementary list on July 31 with lists of fresh inclusions and exclusions.
Supreme Court rejects Teesta Setalvad’s plea
Meanwhile, the court refused to entertain a plea by activist Teesta Setalvad’s non-governmental organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace, which sought to raise certain matters relating to the ongoing exercise.
“The CJP has filed an application for impleadment,” the bench said. “You are not seeking any direction. Why should we hear you? What can we do? Can we invite you and give orders? You have not filed application for directions. Your prayer is for impleadment only.”
Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, representing the government, asked how the NGO, based in Mumbai, can file a plea in the matter. “How can they be here in the Assam case?” Mehta asked. “This is some Mumbai-based NGO. They have nothing to do with this matter”.