The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre and Assam government to transfer National Register of Citizens (NRC) coordinator Prateek Hajela to Madhya Pradesh for maximum period permissible under relevant guidelines.
Who is Prateek Hajela?
Prateek Hajela, a native of Madhya Pradesh, is a 1995-batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre with B.Tech in Electronics from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. His father S P Hajela was a civil service officer in Madhya Pradesh while his brother is a doctor in Bhopal. His uncle P D Hajela was the Vice-Chancellor of Allahabad University and Sagar University in Madhya Pradesh.
Currently, he is the Commissioner and Secretary, Home and Political and State Coordinator to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951 for the state of Assam. He has earlier held the position of Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission; Commissioner and Secretary, Health and Family Welfare. He has also served as the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup Metropolitan, Goalpara and Nagaon. In September 2013, he was appointed by the Supreme Court of India as the Assam State Coordinator to prepare the much-debated National Register of Citizens.
Hajela, as the Supreme Court mandated coordinator of NRC, was involved in the exercise since September 2013 and was responsible for creating a “legacy data” system.
The NRC coordinator had courted several controversies ever since the exclusion of 40 lakh people from the draft list.
His report to the Supreme Court, suggesting that those now seeking inclusion into the list be allowed to submit only 10 out of the original 15 “list A” documents, had also earned the wrath of several civil organisations.
In an interview with The Indian Express, when asked if he was facing political pressure, Hajela said, “I’ll directly say that I am not answering this question.”
The apex court had also reprimanded the Assam coordinator along with Census Commissioner Sailesh for giving statements to the press on the NRC process and warned them that they could face contempt action and time in jail. “Both of you have apparently committed contempt of the court. Should we send you to the jail? You should both be punished,” a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton F Nariman had said.