By Staff Reporter
Published on 03 August 2019
GUWAHATI, Aug 2 – Director of the New Delhi-based Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RAAG) Suhas Chakma today stated that the release of the district-wise draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) data by the Government of Assam yesterday in the State Assembly constitutes contempt of court as the Supreme Court (SC) had specifically directed Prateek Hajela, the SC-appointed Coordinator of the NRC, not to share any information pertaining to the ongoing exercise of updating the NRC with any Executive, Legislative or Judicial Authority of the State without leave of the Supreme Court, considering its sensitivity.
The Supreme Court in its September 19, 2018 order had rejected the plea of the Union of India to share the draft data. In its order, the apex court, while rejecting the prayer of the Union of India to share the Confidential Report/Reports filed by Prateek Hajela placed before the Supreme Court in a sealed cover(s) stated, “Though Shri KK Venugopal, learned Attorney General for India has stated that a copy of the said report/reports be made available to the Union of India, we are of the view that having regard to the sensitive nature of some of the information contained therein which may affect the entire exercise undertaken and also the exercise that may be required to be undertaken by the Court, the said 12 report/reports should remain in the custody of the Court for the present. In the meantime, we direct Shri Hajela not to share any information pertaining to the ongoing exercise of updation of the NRC with any Executive, Legislative or Judicial Authority of the State without leave of the Court.”
The order of the apex court can be viewed at: ‘http://www.nrcassam.nic.in/pdf/16113_2009_Order_19-Sep-2018.pdf’, said Chakma.
The data presented and prepared by Prateek Hajela has not been finalised and final report shall be released only on 31 August 2019. Therefore, the disclosure of the draft data interferes with and obstructs the administration of justice, and further scandalises and lowers the authority of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court should suo motu initiate contempt proceedings into the matter, said Chakma.
A total of 41,10,169 persons stand excluded from the NRC at present i.e., 40,07,707 persons were excluded from the NRC on 30th July 2018 when the Draft NRC was published while 1,02,462 persons were excluded on 26 June 2019.
Commenting on the draft data released by the Government of Assam yesterday, Chakma stated, “It is based on our own studies that majority of the tribals do not possess or have not preserved the so-called legacy data to prove their citizenship despite being descendants of the indigenous peoples of Assam. The process unduly victimises the poor and those who have not preserved the legacy data or did not possess the data as the State had not reached out to them before 1971”.