Millennium Post

Apex court pulls up Assam govt for creating confusion over NRC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up Assam government for creating confusion in the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and not re-evaluating the claims of those who have been left out.

The bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi stated, "How can people have confidence in Assam government? You are creating confusion."

The apex court while further taking note of the submissions of the state government, stated: "40 lakh people were not included in Assam NRC means they were prime facie foreigners, but tribunals declared only 52,000 as foreign and of this, the government has deported only 162."

The Supreme Court on February 12 slammed Union Ministry of Home Affairs for the delay in the completion of the NRC process in Assam, saying the Ministry doesn't want the "NRC process to go on" and "the entire effort of MHA seems to be to destroy NRC".

The apex court's observation comes after the central government sought the suspension of the process in view of the impending General elections.

"If you wanted the Assam NRC process to go on, the government has 1001 ways to do it... We are very disappointed. The entire effort of MHA seems to be to destroy NRC. We can even call the Union Home Secretary here," warned Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The CJI asked the Centre if it was too much to ask for General elections and NRC work to go on simultaneously and peacefully.

The Supreme Court refused to pass an order on the Centre's plea to suspend NRC work for two weeks during General elections and also clarified that it will not extend the date for publishing the final NRC list beyond July 31.

The matter has been listed for the first week of March. The Centre wanted the withdrawal of 167 companies from the Assam NRC work to tend to the law and order situation in the country.

CJI Gogoi had stated the Centre has around 3,000 combined armed police companies, adding that only 2,700 companies are needed during the Lok Sabha elections. "Assam NRC work requires 167 companies. So what is the problem?" the top court asked.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Centre told the Supreme Court that 938 people are detained in six detention centres in Assam and 823 of them have been declared as foreigners by tribunals.

The Centre was responding to the January 28 queries of the apex court which had asked the Centre and the state to provide details of functional detention centres in Assam and the foreigners detained in them during the last 10 years.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that both the Centre and the state have filed their affidavits providing details sought by the apex court.

The Centre said over 27,000 foreigners have been pushed back at border points while attempting to enter India illegally.

The Supreme Court Tuesday expressed concern over thousands of illegal migrants being kept in detention centres for years in Assam without being repatriated or deported to their countries of origin.

"Don't you think some explanation is called from state government as to why these people are detained for such a long period? Many of them have been detained for the last 9-10 years. What is the justification," a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

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