New Delhi:Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) process to identify illegal aliens residing in the border State was “neither a new or novel idea” but only an attempt to update the 1951 NRC list.Chief Justice Gogoi, who is retiring on November 17, headed the Special Bench of the Supreme Court which monitored the Assam NRC process. The Supreme Court’s intervention led to the publication of the final citizenship list on August 31.“This is an occasion to put things in proper perspective, National Register of Citizens (NRC), as it may finally emerge, is not a document of the moment. 19 lakh or 40 lakh is not the point. It’s base document for future,” ANI quoted Gogoi as saying.
Gogoi also lashed out at few media outlets over irresponsible reporting, saying it only worsened the situation.“Irresponsible reporting by a few media outlets only worsened the situation. There was an urgent need to ascertain with some degree of certainty the number of illegal migrants, which is what the current exercise of NRC had attempted, nothing more nothing less,” the CJI further said.He also slammed people using the social media to cast aspersions on the NRC exercise. “The social media and its tools have been used by many commentators to doublespeak on the issue. They launched a motivated tirade at a democratic institution. These commentators and their vile on the initiative (NRC) was far removed from the facts,” he said.The NRC has been prepared to identify genuine Indian citizens living in Assam since March 24, 1971, or before, and identify illegal Bangladeshi migrants in the state.
The Supreme Court monitored final NRC was published on August 31. Of Assam’s 33 million residents, who were asked to prove their Indian citizenship, names of about 1.9 million were excluded. The draft list published last year had excluded 40 lakh names.
The names not in the final list will now be referred to 300 quasi-judicial bodies called Foreigners’ Tribunals, constituted by the Assam government. The apex court had closely monitored the progress of the NRC exercise, stepping in from time to time to ensure that the Centre and state stuck to the timeline.