Jamiat Challenges Assam NRC Coordinator’s Order on ‘Doubtful Voters’

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Supreme Court of India. (File Photo: IANS)

The order tells district commissioners to delete 10,000 ‘ineligible persons’ from the final NRC in Assam

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Clarion India

NEW DELHI – The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind has challenged in the Supreme Court an order of the Assam State Coordinator for the National Register of Citizenship (NRC).

As per the order, Hitesh Dev Sarma has directed district commissioners (DCs) of Assam to delete 10,000 names of “ineligible persons” from the final list of NRC. The Jamiat is of the view that the order, issued on October 13, is arbitrary and contrary to the apex court’s directives.

In his order, Sarma told the DCs to issue speaking orders (reasoned decisions) for the deletion of such names. “Some names of ineligible persons found entry to the NRC,” Sarma said in the order. These “ineligible persons” include those declared foreigners by the Foreigners Tribunals (DF), those marked as Doubtful Voters (D-Voters) by the election officials or persons whose cases are pending at Foreigners Tribunals (PFTs) and their descendants.

Sarma directed the DCs to issue orders for deletion of such names from the NRC as per Clause 4(6) of the Schedule under the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, after “specifically ascertaining the identity of the person”.

With regard to D-voters, the Jamiat has already filed an appeal with the Supreme Court praying that voters of such category should be kept on hold. But the NRC Coordinator for Assam has taken the plea that D-voters can’t be kept on hold because they are foreigners, hence their names should be removed.

Advocate Fuzail Ayyubi, through whom the Jamiat has approached the apex court, said the State Coordinator’s order was “misconceived”. Talking to Clarion India, he said the Supreme Court has monitored the entire exercise of NRC in Assam through the State Coordinator. The State Coordinator acted in accordance with the rules as well as the guidance provided by the Supreme Court.

“Since similar issue was already taken up by the Supreme Court wherein it refused to allow re-verification, the State Coordinator’s coming up unilaterally without taking leave of the court by way of a notification like this is completely misconceived and in the breach of the order of the Supreme Court,” said Ayyubi.

Besides approaching the apex court, the Jamiat has also taken to task Sarma, the State Coordinator, who, according to the Jamiat, has become a controversial figure because of his statements. As soon as he was named to the post, Jamiat had gone to the Supreme Court against his appointment.

Jamiat’s contention was that Sarma was not an impartial person. He has been in the headlines for provocative remarks against a particular community. The Supreme Court had issued notice to the Centre as well as the Assam government in this regard. The apex court is yet to receive the replies. “How can such a person of questionable integrity issue an order like this,” the Jamiat asked through a press release.

The updated NRC was published in August last year under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court. It excluded around 6% of the state’s population or 19 lakh-odd applicants out of around 3.3 crore applicants.

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