THE FINAL draft of the National Citizens Register (NRC) in Assam has to be published by July 30, the Supreme Court ordered on Monday. A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman had earlier ruled that the draft should be published by June 30 but was informed by the state NRC coordinator that it would not be possible to meet the deadline because of floods in the state.
The bench also asked the coordinator, Prateek Hajela, whether he wanted his security to be enhanced in view of the nature of his work and its ramifications. Hajela replied in the affirmative and said that the state could do the needful after assessing the threat.
Appearing for the state government, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said there was a mechanism at the central and state level to assess the threat perception and order whatever protection is required. The court then directed the Chief Secretary and DGP of Assam to “further review the security cover to Hajela and his family members including his children” and do what is needed. The bench also ordered them to take “immediate action” and file an Action Taken Report in a sealed cover within seven days.
The NRC is intended to identify original residents of the state, which has witnessed protests against illegal migration from Bangladesh for decades. In December 2014, the Supreme Court had ordered the updation of the register and fixed the deadline for January 2016. It extended the deadline later.
The first draft for Assam, in the form of a list of citizens, was published on the night of December 31, 2017, according to the Supreme Court’s direction. The draft incorporated the names of 1.9 crore out of 3.29 crore applicants, with the exercise sparking a controversy over the omissions.