SC Directs NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela To Start Process Of Accepting Objections

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India directed Assam National Register for Citizens (NRC) coordinator Prateek Hajela to start the process for accepting claims and objections for inclusion in the Final Draft NRC from September 25.

Those excluded from the list can file their claims and objections relying on one of the 10 documents Hajela had approved from the standard operating procedure (SOP) suggested by the Centre. The process will continue for 60 days.

A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton F Nariman said those wanting to rely on the five documents about which Hajela had expressed reservation would get a chance to apply once the coordinator gives his views on the Centre’s amended SOP. As per a new affidavit by the Union ministry of home affairs, no change in family tree by claimants will be permitted at the stage of filing claims and objections.

The bench said, “We are not shutting out the rest of the five documents. All we are saying is that at this stage claims and objections shall be filed on the basis of 10 documents.” Justice Gogoi said Hajela’s report has raised apprehensions over the validity of the five documents. Justice Nariman said it is felt that these documents can be forged. Both judges clarified that filing of claims and objections was a concession given by the court.

“There are some materials which have been given in the confidential report to us. Its not in public interest to disclose it... “We have to protect the officer who has given this information. If we expose it, then tomorrow if we ask for more information he won’t be able to give it to us,” Justice Gogoi told attorney general KK Venugopal who urged the court to share the report. “Interest of the public is as safe in the hands of the Union of India as it is in the hands of the court,” the top law officer said.

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