The Centre on Thursday filed a plea before the Supreme Court asking for more time to transfer Assam National Register of Citizens coordinator Prateek Hajela out of the state and to Madhya Pradesh, PTI reported.

The Supreme Court had on October 18 ordered the Centre and the Assam government to transfer Hajela to Madhya Pradesh within seven days. The top court, however, has not specified the reason why it wants Hajela out of Assam.

The counsel for the Centre told the bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, that some formalities have to be completed before Haleja is transferred to his home state. “You file the application,” the bench, which also comprised Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer, said.

The final National Register of Citizens list was published on August 31, and excluded 19 lakh people. The number of people left out comprise around 6% of Assam’s entire population. They will now have to appeal against the decision in foreigners’ tribunals.

Hajela was the Supreme Court-mandated coordinator of NRC, and was involved in the task since September 2013. He is a native of Madhya Pradesh and is a 1995-batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre.

Since the publication of the NRC, members of both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have criticised the register as well as Hajela. In September, senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi wrote to Ranjan Gogoi, complaining that Hajela had not discharged his duty efficiently. This came days after two cases were filed against Hajela for allegedly excluding bonafide Indians from the updated citizens’ list deliberately.

The president of non-governmental organisation Assam Public Works, on whose petition the Supreme Court got involved in the process to update the National Register of Citizens in the state, had on Tuesday demanded that Hajela’s passport should be seized.

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