Assam NRC: SC tells Election Commission to address discrepancies in voters’ list by March 28

The Supreme Court on March 12, 2019 asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to form a plan of action to address the discrepancies in voters’ list by March 28, 2019 in case a person’s name is there in the voters’ list of Assam but missing from the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, Justice SA Nazeer and Justice Sanjeev Khanna asked the Election Commission to provide the court with complete information on the latest additions and deletions in the voters’ list by March 28.

The people of Assam have been in a dilemma that whether those whose names did not make it to the final draft NRC will be able to cast their votes or not.

The Assam NRC is scheduled to be published on July 31, 2019.

The petition

The ruling came on a petition alleging that several categories of persons in Assam are deprived of voting rights ahead of the Lok Sabha Election 2019. The petition was filed by two Assam-based residents - Gopal Seth and Susanta Sen.

These categories of people are:

First: One of the categories is that of people whose names figure in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018 but not in the voters’ list. The PIL claimed that these people had voted in the last Lok Sabha Election 2014.

Second: The plea also alleged that there were people whose names were not included in draft NRC but are seeking for inclusion of their names in it. They too voted in the Lok Sabha elections 2014.

Third: There are people who have been declared as foreigners by the foreigners’ tribunal as well as by the Guwahati high court but the court’s orders were stayed by the Supreme Court. The names of this category of people were appearing in the voters’ list from time to time.

Fourth:  The fourth category deals with the people who had already been declared foreigners by the foreigners’ tribunal and such declarations were set aside by the Supreme Court. However, their names have been deleted from the voters’ list.

Fifth: This category deals with people whose names have not been included in the draft NRC, but other members of their families are included in the NRC and they have filed their claim for the inclusion of their names.

Note: The names of these five categories of people have not been included in the voters’ list, depriving them of their constitutional as well as statutory rights to vote in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections to be held in April 2019.

Assam NRC

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a list containing names of Indian citizens of Assam.

The first draft of the Assam NRC was published on December 31, 2017, incorporating the names of 1.9 crore people out of the total 3.29 crore applicants. The second and final draft of Assam NRC was published on July 30, 2018.

This final draft included 2,89,83,677 names, leaving a total of 40,70,707 names as ineligible for inclusion. Out of 40,70,707 names, 37,59,630  names have been rejected and 2,48,077 names are kept on hold.

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