Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi Sunday said the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was not the document of the moment but a base for the future. Speaking at the launch of book ‘Post Colonial Assam’, Gogoi said the NRC exercise only attempted to ascertain with some degree of certainty the number of illegal migrants.
“This is an occasion to put things in proper perspective, National Register of Citizens (NRC), as it may finally emerge, is not a document of the moment. 19 lakh or 40 lakh is not the point. It’s base document for future,” ANI quoted Gogoi as saying.
Gogoi also lashed out at few media outlets over irresponsible reporting, saying it only worsened the situation.
“Irresponsible reporting by a few media outlets only worsened the situation. There was an urgent need to ascertain with some degree of certainty the number of illegal migrants, which is what the current exercise of NRC had attempted, nothing more nothing less,” the CJI further said.
The CJI’s remark come nearly two months after the final draft of NRC was published on August 31 this year, leaving out at least 19 lakh out of 3.30 crore applicants. The Supreme Court had closely monitored the progress of the NRC exercise, stepping in from time to time to ensure that the Centre and state stuck to the timeline.
However, the excluded applicants still have the option of appealing. They can approach, within a deadline, a Foreigners Tribunal with a certified copy of the rejection order from the NRC, along with the grounds for appeal.
They will need to prove that they or their ancestors were citizens on or before March 24, 1971. This is the cutoff date in the Assam Accord of 1985, agreed upon by the Centre, the state and the All Assam Students’ Union, at the end of a six-year movement against migration from Bangladesh.
Explained: Why ‘final NRC’ is not final?
The update, mandated and monitored by the Supreme Court, is a fallout of the Assam Accord of 1985, which sets March 24, 1971 as the cutoff date for citizenship. Those who entered Assam before that date are recognised as citizens.