Supreme Court moved for changes in SOP of NRC in Assam

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After nearly 41 lakh people in Assam were left out of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), about 25 lakh people have sent a petition to the Centre for re-verificationNew Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) An impleadment application was filed in the Supreme Court, seeking to suggest changes in a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the adjudication of appeals by the Foreigners Tribunals for those excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.

The impleadment application said changes in SOP will provide a provision for change in the legacy persons as errors have taken place due to confusion created by a large number of identical names.

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It has been filed by the Assam-based Brahmaputra Valley Civil Society through advocate Satya Mitra, which works for the uplift of the poor and for the enforcement of their social, economic and cultural rights.

The society has requested the apex court to consider its suggestion on SOP to provide fair, just, reasonable and transparent proceedings before the Tribunals.

The SOP has been drawn to make the process of appeals fair and transparent, and provides a reasonable opportunity to all concerned uniformly throughout the state in a time-bound manner.

The petitioner said the appellants could submit legacy data or documents of their ancestors or selves in support of their appeals as per the list of admissible legacy documents and they might change their wrongly identified and used legacy persons in the original application.

In case of change of legacy person, a modified list of children and grandchildren (called the family tree) of the legacy person could be submitted.

“Certified copy of the legacy documents, submitted by the appellants, may be verified as per existing norms followed by the Tribunal. The authenticity of the legacy data may be verified by using the NRC website and database,” the petitioner said.

To check the misuse of legacy data or documents, the veracity of the family tree may be ascertained by hearing adult members of each family of the modified family tree submitted due to change of legacy person, the application suggested.

The NRC authority shall provide a certified copy of the rejection order to the NRC claimant, excluded from the final NRC within 15 days of publication and the period of limitation of filing the appeal should effect from the receiving of certified copy of the rejection order.

But the petitioner said the list of eligible documents for the purpose of legacy and linkage would remain the same as per prescribed modalities of NRC updation. It has also suggested that the appellants might submit additional admissible legacy and linkage documents if considered necessary by them in support of their appeals.

It has also suggested a campaign to educate the applicants about the requirements of the appeal process, essential documents and evidence that will be considered in support of their appeals.

The petitioner said in 2018 the central government in consultation with State NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela framed the SOP for disposal of claims and objections in the updation of NRC 1951 in Assam.

It said around 300 Foreigners Tribunals, set up by the Assam government, are expected to start operating from September 1, and if the SOP was not settled there would be lack of uniformity in the functioning of tribunals.

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