GUWAHATI: The authorities of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on Friday deferred the issuance of rejection slips to over 19.6 lakh people left out of the register.
The process of issuance of NRC rejection slips was scheduled to commence on Friday but deferred due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
“It has been deferred due to coronavirus. It will commence as and when the situation improves,” NRC state coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma told this newspaper.
If the process had begun, there would have been gatherings at NRC Seva Kendras as the people excluded would have visited the places to collect the rejection slips. The final list of the NRC was published on August 31 last year.
Once an individual receives the rejection slip, he or she will have to challenge his or her exclusion at a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) within a window period of 120 days. Usually, the cases in the FTs need to be disposed of within six months. A person not getting relief at an FT can move the Gauhati High Court and then the Supreme Court. However, he or she may be arrested and sent to a detention camp right after the FT declares him or her a “foreigner”.
The process involving preparatory work to update the NRC of 1951 had begun in 2013 and the entire exercise was directly monitored by the SC.
Meanwhile, the State Election Commission deferred the April 4 elections to the 40-seat Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are working on to minimise public gatherings. So, we have requested the Commission to postpone the BTC elections,” Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told journalists on Friday afternoon. Two hours later, the Commission announced the deferment of the polls.
The BTC comes under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution where the governor is the ultimate authority. Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi too had suggested the postponement of the polls.
In Arunachal Pradesh, the state’s health department had on Thursday advised the government to defer the municipal and panchayat polls due in May.