Eyebrows were raised on Friday after Supreme Court ordered the transfer of Assam NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela, a 1995 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, to Madhya Pradesh.
A bench comprising of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde and Rohinton Nariman passed Hajela’s transfer order.
After the order was passed, Attorney General KK Venugopal who was present in court, asked the Bench, “Is there a reason for this?”
To this, CJI Ranjan Gogoi replied, “No order will be without a reason.”
The order triggered debates on SC’s jurisdiction and whether the court can at all transfer employees in the executive branch.
“As Supreme Court orders Inter-cadre transfer of Assam NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela to Madhya Pradesh on deputation, can’t stop me from wondering under what law can SC do this? What next: transfer of clerks and bureaucrats from one state to another?” tweeted journalist Maneesh Chhibber.
In his tweet, lawyer Aman Wadud, a lawyer, said, “19 lakhs excluded from NRC. Not even a single rejection order issued yet. And the person who was heading NRC is transferred by the Supreme Court. If this not baffling enough, next date of NRC case is 26th November, after current CJI retires. He was presiding over the NRC monitoring bench.”
The next date of hearing of NRC is November 26, nine days after CJI Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17.
Hajela’s transfer has also evoked sharp reactions in Assam with Hojai MLA Shiladitya Dev calling him as a “corrupt official”.
“The entire NRC exercise went wrong due to Hajela and to escape the situation, he sought is own transfer,” the BJP legislator said.
“Hajela left out genuine citizens from the final NRC and included names of individuals who threatened him with dire consequences,” Dev added.
Prateek Hajela was in-charge of the preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam.
Hajela supervised the entire NRC exercise in Assam and led a team of over 50,000 officials.
The final NRC was published on August 31 from which over 19 lakh people were left ot.
Overall 3.29 crore people applied for the NRC, of which 3.11 crore made it to the final list.