The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the updating of the controversial National Register of Citizens or the NRC in Assam, will today once again hear the case today, one of the last hearings on the case before the publication of the final citizens' list on August 31, a deadline earlier set by the Supreme court.
Today's hearing in the top court is crucial since it needs to fix how two key issues of the Citizenship Act would be implemented in the final citizens' list. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) co-coordinator has earlier sought directions through a petition in the Supreme Court on what happens to those who are born before December 2004 if one of their parents is a declared a foreigner.
According to the Citizenship Act, if one in a couple is an Indian, their children born before December 3, 2004 will be considered Indians.
However, there is another provision in the Citizenship Act that says that people born after December 3, 2004 will not be considered Indians if one of their parents is an Indian and the other parent is an illegal migrant.
NRC authorities had earlier published public notices asking people or parties for filing petitions on this.
Another crucial issue would be the citizenship issue of people declared Indians or foreigners under the controversial Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) or IMDT Act which was scrapped by the Supreme Court in 2005. The NRC authorities in Assam had sought a directive from the top court regarding the acceptability of rulings (opinions) under the controversial law.
Till 2005, whether a person is a foreigner or an Indian in Assam was decided by the IM (DT) act, where the onus of proving the citizenship of the accused was on the State.
Civil society groups and the opposition Congress, the Congress have written to the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi about the "panicky situation" created by "suspicious and mischievous" re-verification notices served by the National Register of Citizens (NRC) authorities.
Four people, among the thousands who were called for re-verification hearing of the National Register of Citizens, have died in road accidents.
NRC authorities have started a re-verification of some of the people whose names figured in the draft NRC published last year. The authorities have started the process suddenly giving just 24 to 48 hours to people to appear for re-verification at NRC Seva Kendras located over 500 kms from their hometowns.
Thousands of people were asked by the NRC authorities to appear for re-verification at centres located over 300 km to 400 km from their hometowns, giving just 24 to 48 hours' time.
The fresh set of orders triggered panic as people boarded buses and hired vehicles to reach towns like Jorhat, Charaideo, Sivasagar and Golaghat. Over 40 people have been injured in road accidents due to the rush to reach the centers.
Also, several key petitioner in the NRC case have given fresh requets in the top court for a 10 to 100 per cent re-verification. Earlier, the Supreme Court had turned down the re-verification request after Prateek Hajela, the coordinator for the citizens' list in Assam told the court in a report that during the hearings for claims and objection to the draft NRC published last year that had left about 40 lakh people out, an "automatic" re-check of 27 per cent names on the draft list has been done.
However, the fresh re-verification drive where the NRC authorities also violated the guidelines laid by the Supreme court, have created a fresh round of chaos and confusions.
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