Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that work on publishing National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam and holding of the Lok Sabha polls in the state would go on simultaneously as it reiterated that the July 31 deadline for the publication of final NRC has to be adhered to.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman’s ruling came as Assam’s co-ordinator for NRC Prateek Hajela informed the court that the Election Commission has spared a sizable number of officers to continue working on the NRC while taking others for the election duty.

“Our concern is July 31, 2019. How you do it, it is up to you – manpower, technology…,” the court said as Hajela sought to inform the court about taking IT related manpower for data entry.

As senior counsel Dushyant Dave sought to mention the name of a retired Air Force officer not appearing in draft NRC which was affecting him and his children, the court said that they were not on individual cases but the larger issue.

However, it permitted Dave to mention the matter on March 26 when the court would hear a batch of petitions relating to NRC.

The top court, in the previous hearing on February 5, had refused to relax the July 31 deadline as it disapproved the Centre’s plea for putting the updation work on hold post-announcement of Lok Sabha elections by the Election Commission.

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“The Ministry of Home Affairs is bent upon that NRC work is not carried out. The entire effort of the ministry is to destroy this process. If you want NRC work to go on, there are 1,001 ways of doing it. The government is not co-operating,” Chief Justice Gogoi had said then.

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