NRC of August 2019 was a supplementary list says MHA The Union Home Ministry said in Rajya Sabha that only after implementing security regime for the collected data, will it be made available to the government

12, Dec 2022 | CJP Team

The Ministry of Home Affairs has revealed that the supplementary list of inclusions and exclusions for the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Assam, was published on August 31, 2019, in accordance with the directives of the Supreme Court.

On December 7, 2022, during the ongoing winter session of the Parliament, Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Sushmita Dev had asked by when will the NRC in Assam be completed, and how does Government plan to complete the NRC process in the State of Assam.

Every day of each week, a formidable team of community volunteers, district volunteer motivators and lawyers—CJP’s Team Assam – is providing ready at hand paralegal guidance, counselling and actual legal aid to hundreds of individuals and families paralysed by the citizenship-driven humanitarian crisis in the state. Our boots on the ground approach has ensured that 12,00,000 persons filled their forms to enlist in the NRC (2017-2019) and over the past one year alone we have helped release 52 persons from Assam’s dreaded detention camps. Our intrepid team provides paralegal assistance to, on an average of 72-96 families each month. Our district-level, legal team works on 25 Foreigner Tribunal cases month on month. This ground level data ensures informed interventions by CJP in our Constitutional Courts, the Guwahati High Court and the Supreme Court. Such work is possible because of you, individuals all over India, who believe in this work. Our maxim, Equal Rights for All.  #HelpCJPHelpAssam. Donate NOW!

In response to his question, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai said that as per the directions of the Apex Court, the NRC in Assam had been published on August 31, 2019. Further in his response, he said that “On the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the supplementary list of inclusions and exclusions for National Register of Citizens (NRC), Assam have been published on 31st August, 2019. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has directed the State Coordinator of NRC, Assam to enact an appropriate security regime on lines similar to the security regime provided for Aadhaar data and only thereafter make the list of inclusions and exclusions available to the State Government, Central Government and Registrar General of India.”

With respect to the enquiry of the current status of the report of the Committee set up under Section 6 of the Assam Accord, Rai said that “the State Government of Assam is studying the legal and constitutional challenges in regard to implementation of the report of the Committee.”

The MHA’s statement that the “list of inclusions and exclusions” will be made available to the State Government, Central Government and Registrar General of India (RGI) only after a security regime is applied, has become a cause for confusion since the RGI is the authority that has published the list that came out on August 31, 2019. The fact that over three years (three years and four months) have elapsed since the date of publication, a staggering 19,00,000 excluded persons and their families live in a state of extended limbo, often unable to even access government schemes and basic amenities.

The entire answer may be read here:

The Issue of Re-verification of NRC in Assam

In May 2021, Assam’s State Coordinator of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Hitesh Dev Sarma moved the Supreme Court, demanding a re-verification of the NRC published on August 31, 2019 saying that due to major irregularity many names of ineligible people had made it to the list. It is clear that the NRC Coordinator’s move was first signaled by the political ruling elite in Assam echoed by the party in power at the Centre.

In his intervention application, he also prayed for the deletion of ineligible voters from the voters list and soughtupdation of the 1951 NRC. The application states that there was absence of backend verification of electoral rolls and the process of Office and Field Verifications being used to check applications was unable to detect “Manipulated or manufactured secondary documents”. Here are the key allegations of discrepancies as stated in the application.

  • Eligible people excluded: The application also states that sample checks have revealed that out of the over 40 lakh people excluded from the draft NRC of 2018, over 3 lakh people did not apply for the claims and objections process. It was discovered that 50,695 of these people including 7,700 Original Inhabitants (OI) and 42,925 people from other states were eligible for inclusion.
  • Misuse of Original Inhabitant window: On the subject of OI the application further states that many people have misused the provision and therefore have been mistakenly included in the NRC. It further said that as many as 17,196 persons were included in the NRC even though the backend verification result of their documents was negative, because officers allowed them a chance to re-verify their documents.
  • Allegations against Wipro: Allegations were also made against Wipro which was the System Integrator responsible for maintaining the NRC database. It said that till September 13 2019 Wipro was asked to add or delete names in the database by email, something that was illegal. The application gives an example of the discrepancy saying that while on August 31, 2019 the number of people excluded from the list was 19,06,657, it changed to 19,22,851 on September 14 2019!
  • Allegations against previous NRC Coordinator: Hitesh Dev Sarma took over from PrateekHajela as NRC State Coordinator amidst the controversy that erupted shortly after the publication of the final NRC. He has now alleged that not only did Hajela not hand over the password of the official email ID, his computer was found to have been re-formatted and all previous data deleted.
  • Delay in issuing Rejection Slips:The NRC State Coordinator also submitted that “issues of substantive importance” had also come up during the preparation of rejection slips and thus led to delays. Rejection slips basically list the reason for rejection given in speaking orders by Disposing Officers as a part of the Claims and Objections Process. Over 19 lakh people had been excluded from the 2019 NRC and were required to undergo this process.

Brief background of previous attempt to demand re-verification

Assam Public Works, an NGO that is at the center of the NRC case in the Supreme Court demanded a complete re-verification of the list. But the apex court rejected the plea on July 23, 2019 saying, “We have also read and considered the response of Mr. Hajela, the learned Coordinator on this aspect of the matter and specifically, the stand taken by him in his report dated 18.7.2019, which is to the effect that in the course of consideration/adjudication of the claims, re-verification to the extent of 27% has already been done. In fact, in the said report, the learned Coordinator has mentioned district wise figures of such re-verification which has become an integral part of the process of consideration of the claims and objections on account of the procedure adopted. In that view of the matter, we do not consider it necessary to accede to the prayers for a further sample verification as prayed for on behalf of the Union of India and the State of Assam.”

The court had also made specific directions on inclusion of descendants of persons belonging to Declared Foreigner (DF), Doubtful Voter (DV) or Pending Foreigners’ Tribunal (PFT) category and stated that “for those persons born before 3 December 2004, if the parent through whom legacy is drawn is not DV or DF or PFT and is found eligible for inclusion in NRC, but the other parent from whom legacy is not drawn is a DV or DF or PFT, then, such descendants may be included in NRC”.

But the BJP-led government of Assam remained adamant on re-verification and in September 2020 made a formal submission before the state assembly demanding 10-20 percent re-verification.

On October 13, 2020, Hitesh Dev Sarma issued a directive to Deputy Commissioners and District Registrars of Citizen Registration (DRCR) for “deleting ineligible persons from the final draft of NRC”. The ineligible persons include persons belonging to categories such as Declared Foreigner (DF), Doubtful Voter (DV) and Pending cases before Foreigners Tribunals (PFT), along with the descendants of persons belonging to these categories.

This led to two contempt petitions against Sarma in the Supreme Court: one by JamiatUlama-i-Hind (JUH) which states that the directive issued by him for reverification of final draft of NRC contravenes the court’s previous orders, and another by All Assam Minorities Students Union (AAMSU). The petitions say that the October 13, 2020 directive for reverification issued by Hitesh Dev Sarma has caused delays in filing of appeals by excluded persons, leaving their identity in the country in much uncertainty. The petitioner states that the unilateral directions amount to wilful disobedience of the Supreme Court’s orders passed on August 7, 2018, July 23, 2019 as well as judgment passed on August 13, 2019. The SC in January 2021 issued notice to Sarma in connection with the contempt petitions.

Sarma has been vocal in his opposition to the August 2019 Final NRC list stating that “There were lots of mistakes and wrong entries in the NRC A large number of foreigners were entered in the NRC list,” he said in September while speaking to ANI.

Was the NRC Draft List of 2019 not final?

The question that arises from this constant back and forth is was the NRC of 2019 that was touted as the final NRC a colossal waste of public money?

The latest updated NRC was published on August 31, 2019 after a mammoth exercise where 3.2 crore people of Assam submitted over 6 crore documents that underwent seven layers of checks before their names were included in the NRC. Finally, 19,06,657 people were excluded from the coveted list. These include people who have either been declared foreigners by Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT), people who have been marked suspected foreigner by the Assam Border Police and people who have been marked ‘doubtful’ or D Voter by the Election Commission. Their siblings and children have also been excluded from the NRC.

In September 2021, the Karimganj Foreigners Tribunal, while declaring a person to be an Indian Citizen, also upheld the finality of the NRC of 2019. The government pleader had cast aspersions on the finality of the Assam NRC and the court, while addressing the same held that there is no doubt whatsoever that the NRC released in August 2019, as monitored by the Supreme Court is final. The court observed that NRC Assam was prepared as per provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 (especially as mandated by Section 14A) and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003 and under the orders and directions of the Supreme Court. The court pointed out that the apex court had directed that NRC in Assam be prepared in a time bound manner and also fixed a time schedule and mentioned it as  “finalization of final updated NRC”.“Accordingly Final NRC, (i.e. Supplementary List of NRC together with Draft NRC) has been published on 31.08.2019 which is available online in the official website of NRC Assam wherein also it’s referred and mentioned as “Final NRC”. This legal position is still in force,” the court held. The court said that even though the National Identity Cards have not yet been issued to the citizens who have been included in the final NRC, there is no doubt that the August 2019 NRC is the final NRC of Assam.

Significantly, in March 2021, BJP’s election manifesto for Assam Assembly elections promised a “corrected NRC”.

Though the NRC was a process monitored by the Supreme Court, the Assam government has vehemently refused to accept the NRC.

In April 2022, Sarma wrote to Assam’s Foreigners’ Tribunals (FT) asking them not to rely on the August 2019 NRC list and not to treat it as evidence for disposal of cases under judicial or quasi-judicial process”. On May 10, a member of the FT told Scroll that Sarma’s letter amounted to “interference” and was beyond his “jurisdictions and limits of power”. As per the publication, the RGI has himself has written several letters to Sharma asking for rejection slips to be issued to the people left out of the NRC so that their cases could be decided in the foreigners’ tribunals. The rejection slips that are yet to be issued to those excluded from NRC have been living in a limbo since more than 3 years now.

The Final NRC is yet to be published by the Registrar General of India as per Clause 7 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

According to the press release issued jointly by the registrar general and the NRC coordinator on August 31, 2019, the list being published was the “final NRC”.



NRC Re-verification: SC responds to contempt petition, issues notice to Hitesh Dev Sarma

BJP will prepare NRC again if it comes to power in 2021: HimantaBiswaSarma

Assam Chief Minister openly rejects NRC

Centre to support Assam government’s affidavit to conduct NRC re-verification?

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