NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday censured Assam chief minister Sarbanda Sonowal for intervening in the preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), a process monitored by the apex court.
The NRC is meant to identify original residents of Assam to check illegal migration. The Supreme Court had started monitoring the project through a court-appointed committee in December 2014 and ordered its completion by January 2016. Later, it was extended to March 31, 2019.
During the hearing on Thursday, a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman expressed unhappiness over the state government’s interference in court’s work and said, “We do not appreciate any other authority intervening in the matter of preparation and publication of the draft NRC when this court has been monitoring the process.”
“If the authorities intervened in the matter like this then we would wash-off our hands from this,” the Bench told the counsel appearing on behalf of Assam government. Apex court was upset with the Assam government’s decision to advance the publication of NRC from March 31, 2018 to December 31, 2017.
“We have an on- record statement of chief minister of Assam that the draft NRC will be published in December 2017. Let him supervise then. We will wash off our hands,” the Bench said.
The bench complained that the apex court had spent its time and energy on this and the Assam government’s decision is unfair to the court.
“Be that as it may, we now understand that date of publication of draft NRC is on or before December 31, 2017,” the Bench said.