Supreme Court refuses plea to extend NRC deadline

The SC on Tuesday refused the request of the Centre and the Assam government to extend the deadline for the finalisation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), meant to identify Indian citizens in Assam, and ordered “no interference from any quarter” in drawing it up by June 30. A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman was informed by NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela that by January 31, about 2.29 crore applications were scrutinised and the remaining one crore would be scrutinised by May 31. He said an extra month would be required for the final mopup, thus indicating the NRC could be notified by June 30.

 Attorney general K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, requested a deadline extension as a lot of work on the ground was pending. Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Assam government, said officials engaged in the scrutiny of applications could be required for local body elections scheduled for March-April.

Venugopal said though the state government was doing its “very best”, the ground reality was such that it was impossible to meet the deadline. The bench replied “What (NRC) everyone thought was a joke has been turned into a reality. Thank you for pointing out the ground reality. But we will ignore your arguments. You think the state has done its very best, we think the court is doing its very best.” The AG retorted, “I don’t think so.” The bench was uncompromising on the NRC deadline. It said local body elections would be held on schedule, adding, “However, we make it clear that the work of holding the elections… will not be at the cost of the… final draft NRC.”

As carried in TOI

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