SC HEARING ON PANCHAYAT CERTIFICATES
Of 47.09 lakh people who submitted panchayat certificates for inclusion in updated NRC, 17.4 lakh are original inhabitants: NRC coordinator informs SC
From a Correspondent
New Delhi, Oct 12: The NRC authorities on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that 17.4 lakh out of 47.09 lakh people who had submitted panchayat certificates as proof of citizenship to enroll their names in the updated NRC, are original inhabitants of Assam, even as the apex court fixed November 15 as the next date of hearing to decide the fates of the rest 29.69 lakh NRC applicants who submitted the same document.
State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela informed the Supreme Court that while 17.4 lakh applicants have been identified as original inhabitants, the status of the rest of applicants is under scrutiny.
The development came during the hearing on a Special Leave Petition filed against the Gauhati Hight Court’s order invalidating panchayat certificates submitted by 47.09 lakh applicants to enroll their names in NRC — by a division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha.
On the other hand, advocates representing the All Assam Minorities Students Union (AAMSU) and Assam State Unit of Jamiat Ulema E Hind, while making their arguments on the issue, questioned the NRC authority about the criterion adopted to identify a section of applicants as original inhabitants. Both the organizations pleaded before the apex court that criteria and definition to identify ‘original inhabitants’ must be made clear and public.
“The apex court will hear our plea on November 15,” AAMSU president Azizur Rahman said. The SC bench however rejected a plea by Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) to become a party to the case.
AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal said the fates of lakhs of people, particularly married women, are hanging in balance after the Gauhati High Court invalidated panchayat certificates as proof of citizenship for inclusion in the updated NRC.
The Supreme Court on Thursday also made it clear that the fates of the rest of NRC applicants claiming citizenship on the basis of linkage certificates, will depend upon parameters ultimately laid down by the court.
The NRC is being updated in Assam under the supervision of the Supreme Court to enroll names of people and their descendents with ancestors staying in the State between 1951 and March 24, 1971. The citizenship document is being updated to solve the vexed foreigners problem in the State.