Forum push for factual probe into NRC ‘discrepancies’

GUWAHATI: Anti-influx forum, Prabajan Virodhi Manch has urged the Centre and Assam government to undertake a factual investigation into the alleged discrepancies in the National Register of Citizens (NRC), direct a re-verification and exclude the names of “foreigners” from the list.

The Manch urged the authorities to also put in place legislative and constitutional safeguards to protect indigenous people’s rights over land, employment, trade and educational opportunities by ensuring reservation to those who were citizens of India and residents of Assam in 1951 and their progeny.

In a memorandum issued on Tuesday to Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Union home minister, Amit Shah and Assam chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, the forum pointed out that the power to review and undertake re-verification of “those wrongfully entered in the NRC is an executive power vested in the government and there is no requirement to seek orders from the Supreme Court in this regard.”

“The statutory position being that the executive has the authority to re-verify entries in the NRC, a fact-finding investigation in this regard will enable the Registrar General of India to undertake re-verification,” Manch convener, Upamanyu Hazarika said.

“We have also sought their intervention towards the long-lasting solution of protecting the indigenous people in Assam from becoming a minority by ensuring a legal protection reserving land, employment, trade and educational opportunities only to those who were citizens in 1951 and their progeny,” Hazarika,  who is also a Supreme Court lawyer, said. 

Under Rule 4 of the Schedule to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Card) Rule 2003, the draft NRC re-verification power rests in the District Registrar of Citizen Registration mainly the district magistrate.

In case of the NRC after its final publication, Rule 10 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Card) Rule 2003, vests power in the Registrar General or his nominee to remove any name from the citizens’ list if it is found to be on the basis of incorrect particulars.

“The entire task of NRC preparation, providing legal safeguards vests in the executive and in the legislature. The Supreme Court intervened in the process only when the government does not act. Had successive governments carried out the NRC update process of their volition, intervention of the Supreme Court would not have been warranted and it is now up to the government and the leaders to take forward the task which is actually theirs and not the court’s,” he said.

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