The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it cannot order the reopening of the National Register of Citizens exercise in Assam on the basis of certain legal challenges, PTI reported.

Last month, the top court had extended the deadline for the publication of the final NRC from July 31 to August 31 but declined the Centre and Assam government’s petitions seeking time to conduct a “sample re-verification process” of the names included in the draft register published on July 30, 2018.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman on Tuesday ordered that the NRC data should be secured like Aadhaar information.

“Only hard copies of lists of inclusions and exclusions to be provided at district offices,” ANI quoted Gogoi as saying. “NRC to be updated according to law laid down in Section 66A judgement.”

The bench also ordered that the names of those excluded from the final list be published only online on August 31.

On August 8, the Supreme Court had dismissed criticism in the Assam Legislative Assembly about the NRC process. The stated aim of the National Register of Citizens is to separate genuine Indian citizens from undocumented immigrants living in the state. According to the terms, anyone who cannot prove that they or their ancestors entered Assam before midnight on March 24, 1971, will be declared a foreigner.

More than 40 lakh people were excluded from the final draft. Those who did not make the draft list were allowed to make one last claim for inclusion before the publication of the final consolidated list. Authorities also allowed objections to be filed against people included in the final draft. The exercise has been embroiled in several controversies, including allegations of bias against certain communities.

An “additional exclusion list” was published on June 26. It contained names of 1,02,463 people who were earlier included in the draft list.

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