It is indeed heartening to learn that one of the early tasks of the new Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbada Sonowal, was to visit the office of the State Coorditor for updating the tiol Register of Citizens (NRC) in order to have a detailed discussion with the officials concerned. The discussion elicited some of the problems faced by the officials engaged in the process of updating the NRC. He assured the officials concerned that the State government would extend full cooperation in updating the NRC. There are two important facets of the NRC update that have not been fully appreciated. The first is that only a thorough and correct updating of the NRC can serve to identify the Indian citizens living in Assam from any stipulated date and distinguish them from all the illegal migrants who have been living in the State including those who came to Assam after March 24, 1971. The second is that there has to be a close link between the NRC and the electoral roll of the State in order to ensure that foreign tiols who had maged to get their mes included in the electoral roll through devious means or through the active connivance of the Assam government cannot go on voting in Indian elections illegally. The typical Indian practice of claiming that since these voters had been voting in the past, they should continue to have their franchise permanently cannot be tolerated. We cannot have bad precedents undoing good laws. Therefore it is important that the Election Commission of India should take keen interest in an exercise calculated to elimite non–Indians from the NRC. After all, it is the business of the Election Commission of India to ensure that the electoral roll of every State is free from mes of non–Indians who are not entitled to vote in Indian elections. As such, it is important for the Election Commission to make the best use of all inputs that are calculated to weed out the mes of non–Indians from the list of citizens. The updating of the NRC is an exercise that has sought to do precisely this. Therefore, it is the duty of the Election Commission to use the updated NRC to arrive at a correct electoral roll free of the mes of foreign tiols. However, the attitude of the Election Commission to the exercise of updating the NRC has been most unfortute. Before the recent Assembly elections of Assam, the Election Commission made a categorical statement that it had nothing to do with the updating of the NRC. Once the NRC of 1951 gets updated and the fil updated form is published, it will be the duty of the Assam government to insist on the Election Commission using the updated NRC to correct the electoral roll of Assam. Should be Election Commission persist in refusing to have anything to do with the updated NRC, it may be necessary for law–abiding citizens and even for the government of Assam to take the Election Commission to court for knowingly and deliberately refusing to accept a vital input for correcting the electoral roll of Assam. Most of us are familiar with what the duties of the Election Commission are, and people are convinced that there is nothing in the rules and norms of the Election Commission that debars it from using vital supporting documents that can clearly assist the Commission from arriving at a far more correct electoral roll than the one it has at present. The Election Commission has to be reminded that it does not exist to perform mere rituals. Its duty is to ensure correct electoral rolls free of the mes of foreign tiols who have no right to vote in Indian elections. As such, it becomes the duty of the Election Commission to make use of every input provided either by the Union government or by the State government in order to come up with an error–free electoral roll. The people of India must ensure that the Election Commission is not around just to perform periodic rituals.
Backing for NRC Update