Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma approaches Supreme Court for re-verification of Assam NRC


New Delhi: The NRC Coordinator of the state of Assam has approached the Supreme Court and requested for complete, comprehensive and time-bound re-verification of the draft and supplementary list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and said that it has ‘some direct flaws’. 

NRC Coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma has filed an intervention application in the pending case before the Supreme Court, urging that the revalidation be done under the supervision of the Monitoring Committee in the respective districts; also, the committee would be given priority with District Judge, District Magistrate and People like Superintendent of Police.

Sarma, the executive director of the Assam NRC from May 2014 to February 2017, was appointed as the state coordinator of the NRC on 24 December 2019, following Prateek Hajela in October 2019.

Sarma said that the loopholes need to be brought before the court as the NRC update process is being done under the supervision of the apex court. The entire NRC update process is linked to ‘security and integrity of the nation’.

Earlier, state Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also spoke like this and said that his government demands that 20 per cent of names in border districts included in NRC and 10 per cent of names in other districts be re-verified.

Not only this, but the BJP had also said in its manifesto that after coming to power, its party would start the process of excluding illegal migrants and include Indians in the NRC list.

NRC state coordinator Sarma has claimed that many unqualified persons have been included in the list, which should be excluded.

According to the Indian Express, he said, ‘…several serious, fundamental and substantial errors have crept into the process of updating NRC in Assam. This has vitiated the entire exercise and the present draft and supplementary list for inclusion and exclusion of NRC that has been published are not free from errors. Thus, the draft NRC needs to be revisited by ordering a comprehensive and time-bound re-verification of the same.”

Sarma has appealed to the apex court that re-verification can be done under the supervision of a monitoring committee in the respective districts. He suggested that the committee be represented by the concerned District Judge, District Magistrate and Chief of Police.

It is to be known that the final list of the citizens of Assam, i.e. updated NRC, was released on August 31, 2019, which included 31,121,004 people , while 1,906,657 people were not considered eligible.

However, the administration has not yet issued the exclusion slip to the excluded. Based on this slip, people excluded from NRC can appeal to the Foreigners Tribunal to prove their citizenship.

The NRC state coordinator had informed in a meeting held on July 2 last year that by December end of the year 2020, those excluded from NRC would be issued an exclusion slip.

However, the administration has now demanded a re-verification of the entire NRC proceedings in Assam. Sarma told the court that the NRC published in the year 2019 is not final. The final NRC is yet to be published by the Registrar General of India.

Earlier, the Registrar General of India (RGI) rejected the Assam government’s request to continue the financial assistance for the remaining work of the National Citizenship Register even after 31 March.

The RGI office had written a letter to the state government on March 23, taking a tough stance on the ‘extreme delay’ in completing the process.

In a letter written on March 4, the Assam government had requested to release an additional Rs 3.22 crore per month and the earlier allocated Rs 1,602.66 crore for the entire project to complete the pending works of NRC after 31 March.

The Registrar General of India (RGI) said that after 31 March 2021, there is no provision of additional funds for expenditure.