The Supreme Court today rejected any extension to the August 31 deadline for the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list, and ordered that data collated through the exercise be treated with Aadhaar-like secrecy.
It also turned down a plea by the central and state governments for "sample re-verification" of the draft NRC published last year.
Assam, which has faced an influx of migrants from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state with an NRC first prepared in 1951. The aim of the exercise is to identify illegal immigrants who have settled down in the state, so that suitable action can be taken against them.
In its order issued today, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Nariman said that the list of people excluded from the NRC should be published online only on August 31. It further said that only the centre, state and the NRC coordinator should have complete access to the data, and nothing other than hard copies of the supplementary list and inclusions should be provided to the district offices concerned.
The court also clarified on a certain issue brought up by the authorities, ruling that all people born after December 3, 2004, will be excluded from the NRC should any of their parents be declared an illegal immigrant by the Foreigners Tribunal or if their registered voter status comes under doubt. The court said it arrived at this decision after examining the provisions under Sections 3 and 6(a) of the Citizenship Act, besides rules prescribed under the same.
The Supreme Court also said that any case related to the scrapped Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983, can be challenged before the Gauhati High Court, as can orders passed by the Foreigners Tribunal in Assam.
The Act, enacted by the Indira Gandhi government in 1983, was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2005.
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