GUWAHATI: Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Debabrata Saikia has alleged that the State and the Central governments have 'flouted' the order of the Supreme Court by deciding to re-verify 20% of the names in the NRC (National Register of Citizens) in the border districts of Assam and 10% in the other districts. He also said that if the government wants to do so then it will have to amend the Constitution of India.
In a statement issued to the media on Wednesday, Saikia said that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass have dealt a blow to the NRC and other issues. "Insofar as the NRC is concerned, the final document was published on 31st August, 2019. On 2nd September, 2019, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a statement to the effect that the NRC was prepared in a scientific manner under the supervision of the Supreme Court and that it was a fair and nondiscriminatory document.
"However, Sonowal, Sarma and Dass are now striving to create confusion among the people of Assam, which is unfortunate. They are saying that the Centre has agreed to the State government's proposal for 20% re-verification of names in the NRC in the border districts of Assam and 10% re-verification in other districts.
"In this context, it needs to be pointed out that the matter of re-verification had been discussed in the Supreme Court on 5th September, 2018 and the Court had favoured 10% re-verification of names and that too by authorities of districts other than the home districts of the people concerned.
"Subsequently, the Supreme Court passed another order on 23rd July, 2019 which rejected the Central and State governments' plea for re-verification of names. The Court had mentioned in its order that the district-wise data provided by the then State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela revealed that up to 27% re-verification had been carried out in many districts.
"The Court further observed that the procedure adopted by Hajela ensured that re-verification practically became a part of the NRC-related claims and objections process and in some districts up to 50% re-verification had been carried out… The main point is that the Supreme Court was convinced a year ago that 27% names had been re-verified and that consequently genuine Indian citizens would be included in the final NRC.
"Moreover, the process of claims and objections involving the final NRC is yet to be carried out. As such, it is illogical to question the validity of the final NRC at this juncture… The Supreme Court had permitted publication of the final NRC more than a year ago and Article 142 of the Constitution makes it mandatory on the Central and State governments to implement orders passed by the apex Court. Therefore, if the Central and State Governments want to flout the Supreme Court order and carry out 20% and 10% re-verification of names included in the NRC, then the Constitution of India will have to be amended."
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