GUWAHATI: Stating that the “supplementary” National Register of Citizens (NRC), published on August 31 last year was not flawless, the NRC authority in Assam has told the Gauhati High Court that the Centre was not passing necessary directions for corrective measures even though the anomalies were reported in February.
In an affidavit filed in the high court, a copy of which was accessed by The New Indian Express, NRC State Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma said the anomalies were reported to the Registrar General of India (RGI) on February 15 seeking necessary directions for corrective measures in the interest of an error-free NRC which is of utmost Importance as the NRC is directly related to national security and integrity. However, no directions were received.
“Rather, instructions have been received for issue of rejection slips and winding up of the operation of updating of NRC. The Registrar General of India is also silent on the final publication of the NRC for which it is the only authority to take action and to date, the final NRC is yet to be published by the Registrar General of India as per Clause 7 of the rules under the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003,” Sarma wrote in the affidavit.
He said some District Registrars of Citizens Register (DRCRs), handling the exercise, had sought a change in the status of 10,199 applicants following the publication of the supplementary list of inclusion and exclusion.
“Altogether 10,199 numbers of formal requests were received from DRCRs to change the results of NRC. Out of 10,199 persons, a total of 5,404 numbers were for changing the result from ‘reject’ to ‘accept’ and a total of 4,795 were for changing result from ‘accept’ to ‘reject’…
“It was found that the DRCRs requested to change results of NRC from ‘accept to reject’ for 1,032 ineligible persons belonging to Declared Foreigner (DF), Doubtful Voter (DV), Person having cases pending at Foreigners Tribunal (PFT), their descendants (DFD, DVD, PFTD) and for 3,763 numbers of the person who were found ineligible for other reasons, which are still included in the NRC,” the NRC State Coordinator said.
While disposing of prayer by Assam and Central governments for sample re-verification of 10-20%, the Supreme Court in its July 23, 2019 order had “observed that as there was an incidental re-verification of 27%, there was no need for further sample re-verification”. But Sarma said if 1,02,462 names were deleted after 27% sample re-verification, one definitely cannot ignore the remaining 73% unverified results where there could be 2.77 lakh undeserving names in the NRC going by the same arithmetic. The sample re-verification was conducted ahead of the publication of supplementary NRC.
The NRC State Coordinator cited a few examples of anomalies committed during the updating of the register.
According to his affidavit, a woman from Nalbari had applied for inclusion of her name in the NRC when a case against her was pending in a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT). Subsequently, she made it to the list as the verifying officer was not mindful of the pending case. But, later, she was declared a “foreigner” by the FT. In another case, a man had made it to the list even after he was declared a foreigner by an FT.
In the Chamaria circle of Kamrup district, 64,247 out of the 1,43,522 applicants were included in the draft NRC. Later, following verification, 14,183 were found to be wrongly marked as original inhabitants.
Over 19.06 lakh of the 3.3 crore applicants were left out of the NRC. Those excluded will be served rejection slips citing the reasons behind exclusion. Once they receive the rejection slips, they will have to file an appeal at the nearest FT and it will have to dispose of a case within six months from the day the appeal was received. Those not getting relief can move the High Court and the Supreme Court.