A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman extended the deadline — earlier set to expire on December 15 — for filing the fresh claims for inclusion into the draft and submit objections to names already included, following a request from the state government.
The bench said it was doing this “keeping in mind the rate at which the claims are being received”.
Appearing for the state, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, sought one-month extension, but the court granted time only till December 31.
Assam NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela told the bench that so far 14.8 lakh claims had been received and that the rate of receipt of claims had increased in the past few days as the deadline was drawing to a close.
With the last date for filing claims extended, the court said that the process of verification of these claims and objections, which was slated to start from February 1, will also stand postponed to February 15.
The All Assam Students Union, meanwhile, has told the court that there were problems with filing objections against wrongful inclusions, as currently the draft was available only in NRC Seva Kendras and those visiting it were at risk of being physically targeted.
Now, faster claims, access to details for objections
Following a higher rate of submissions in the last few days, the 14.8 lakh claims still represent less than half the 40 lakh omissions. Among those left out, many have cited the restrictive rules: they are not allowed to change the names of legacy persons once submitted. In order to file an objection, which numbered 200-odd at the beginning of the month, it is necessary to submit various details of persons included in the NRC. With AASU citing lack of access to the draft NRC, the Supreme Court has ordered that copies be made accessible at various offices.
Taking note, the court ordered that “to facilitate filing of objections against wrongful inclusions, the copies of the draft NRC be made available for inspection of all concerned at convenient locations, that is the office of the District Magistrate/ Deputy Commissioner, Sub-Divisional Offices (Civil), Circle Offices and Gram Panchayats. We further direct that so far as the filing of objections are concerned, the same may be done at the District Headquarters”.
The NRC seeks to check illegal migration from Bangladesh.
In December 2014, the SC, which had taken a grim view of the situation in Assam, had ordered updation of the Register and fixed the deadline for January 2016. However, it later extended the deadline.
The final draft NRC list, published on July 30, included names of 2.89 crore of 3.29 crore applicants. A total of 40,70,707 people did not make it to the list.