NRC coordinator moves apex court for comprehensive reverification

Deccan Chronicle.  | manoj anand

Nation, Politics

Sarma also pleaded that in the 'Original Inhabitants' category and the 'Persons from other States' category, errors had been detected

It is significant that Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, at his first press conference after taking office, made it clear his government would seek NRC re-verification. — PTI

Guwahati: Assam state NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma has moved the Supreme Court seeking a comprehensive re-verification of the draft National Register of Citizens as well as its supplementary list.

Following the decision of the outgoing and present BJP government, the NRC coordinator in the petition pleaded for an appropriate direction from the court on the process to be undertaken under Clause 4 (3) of the Schedule of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003. Mr Sarma sought re-verification under the supervision of a monitoring committee, preferably represented by the respective district judge, district magistrate and superintendent of police.

“Major irregularities have been detected in the lists of the NRC in Assam and a comprehensive re-verification should be conducted. Irregularities have been detected in the final draft as well as the supplementary list. While ineligible names were included, many eligible names have also been excluded,” he said in his petition.

So far, the verification process has helped in the detection of only forged documents, he said, and not any manipulation or manufactured secondary document used to procure the main document.

For example, a name in the electoral roll may be verified through back-end verification, the petition argued. But office verification cannot detect whether it was entered fraudulently with the help of forged or manipulated documents.

“This is because there had been no back-end verification in the preparation of electoral rolls,” the petition read. 

“The office verification process could however be still a very effective tool for verification if it was properly and effectively combined with the Family Tree Verification process," it added.

The NRC coordinator also pleaded that in the “Original Inhabitants” category and the “Persons from other States” category, several errors had been detected. Mr Sarma, in his plea before the court, argued that the preparation of a correct and error-free NRC was integral to national security too. 

It is significant that Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, at his first press conference after taking office, made it clear his government would seek NRC re-verification. “Our view on NRC is very clear. We want 20 per cent re-verification of the list in districts bordering Bangladesh and 10 per cent re-verification in other districts. If after that, the NRC is found to be correct, the state government would accept it and take the process forward. But if the NRC is found faulty even after the re-verification, we want the Supreme Court to view this issue critically,” the chief minister told reporters at his first press briefing.

“If the NRC data is found correct, then we shall do nothing, but if there are discrepancies we will ask for the Supreme Court’s guidance. We have been saying this for a while and we stand by this,” he added.

“CAA is a law that was passed by the Parliament and, as it stands, the state government has nothing much to do in this regard, as the rules are yet to be framed. Since, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the exercise to frame the rules is on hold, that is where the matter lies,” the CM added.