The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre, the Election Commission and the Assam government on a petition questioning the “deletion” of names — those excluded from the draft National Register for Citizens (NRC) — from the state’s voters’ list.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued the notices while hearing the petition by social activist Gopal Seth.
The plea referred to the case of one Susanta Sen, a resident of Sivasagar district in the state of Assam. The petitioner’s counsel Pijush K Roy said Sen’s name had been deleted from the voters’ list as it did not appear in draft NRC published on July 30, 2018.
The petition said Sen’s name had appeared in the 2014 voters’ list but his name has now been deleted as it did not make it to the NRC though “name of other family members of the Petitioner have figured in the Draft NRC”.
Sen contended that “the right to vote in the democratic system is a constitutional right regulated by the statutory law and the freedom of a citizen to participate in the election process to choose their representative is a constitutional as well as statutory right, which cannot be taken away by any stretch of imagination.”
The petition added that “in the present case, a large number of population who are citizen of India by birth or any other process, who are ordinarily residents of Assam and were exercising their voting rights since they became adult….and it is because sudden deletion of their names from the draft NRC they are going to be deprived from their statutory rights”.
The petition wants the court to declare “the deletion of innumerable number of voters from the Electoral Rolls in the State of Assam pending publication of final NRC as discriminatory, arbitrary, and illegal in gross violation/contravention to the provisions laid down in Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1985 and the Representation of People Act, 1951”. It also sought a direction to the Election Commission “to forthwith restore the names of the persons deleted from the Electoral Rolls in the State of Assam on the basis of the draft NRC…”.