40 lakh people have been left out of the draft citizens’ list in Assam.
The Centre today told the Supreme Court that it is contemplating taking biometrics details of over 40 lakh people, whose names did not figure in the final NRC draft in Assam, to avoid their influx to other states on false identity.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman was told by Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for Centre, that some states, including West Bengal, have fears that people whose name has not found mention in the second and final draft NRC, will migrate to other states.
“To allay the fear of states, the government is contemplating to collect biometric data of over 40 lakh people, so that if declared foreigners escapes to another state under a false identity then they may be tracked by authorities concerned,” Mr Venugopal said.
To this, the bench said the government is free to do whatever it wants and the court will examine it.
“You do whatever you like. At this moment, we would not like to comment. You do it, then we will examine it. Our silence is not a symbol of agreement nor assurance,” the bench said.
The top court said there will be no coercive action against the over 40 lakhs persons, who were excluded from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam, as it was merely a draft.
It asked Centre to formulate modalities and Standard Operating Procedures, including timelines for deciding the claims and objections arising out of the publication of the draft NRC.
The bench asked the Centre to submit the modalities and SOPs before it for approval within August 16.
During the end of the hearing, an association of transgenders requested the bench to give 20,000 transgenders a second chance to fill NRC forms.
The bench said, “You missed the bus. We cannot re-open the entire exercise now”.
The court, however, said it would hear all interlocutory applications on August 16, the next date o fhearing on the main matter.
The second and final draft of the NRC, which is a list of the state’s citizens, was published yesterday with over 2.89 crore names out of 3.29 crore applicants in Assam. Names of around 40.07 lakh applicants did not figure in the document.
The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published in December end as per the top court’s direction. It was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 where names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated.
Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951.
The top court, which is monitoring the NRC work, had earlier said that the claims of those citizens, whose names do not figure in the draft NRC for Assam published by December 31 last year, would be scrutinised and included in the subsequent list, if found genuine.