The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday strongly castigated National Register of Citizens (NRC) Assam’s coordinator Prateek Hajela and registrar general Shailesh for speaking to the media about the process relating to final NRC draft.
The bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman warned Hajela and Shailesh, to be “cautious in future”.
“Get down to work for finalisation of NRC and never speak to media on this issue without SC’s prior permission…How can officers appointed by the SC talk about something which is to be finalised by us,” TOI quoted Justice Gogoi as saying.
The apex court said it would have initiated contempt proceedings against Hajela and Shailesh had the task of finalisation of the NRC not been urgently at hand.
Hajela had told the media that any valid document would be accepted as proof of citizenship during the hearing on complaints by those left out in the draft NRC.
Referring to a Hajela’s interview to a national daily, Justice Gogoi said, “Where is the necessity, scope and authority in you to make such a statement? Your job is to carry on with the draft and prepare the final NRC.”
The court told Hajela that he was first an officer of the court and should not have spoken to media about the NRC.
“It is most unfortunate on your part as well as the RGCC. Your job is to prepare the final NRC. Your job is not to go to press holding brief for somebody,” the bench said.
The final NRC draft was released last Monday where names of 2.89 crore people have figured. A total of 3.29 crore applied for inclusion of their names in NRC.
Hajela told the top court last Tuesday that of the more than 40 lakh people not in the final draft, as many as 37.59 lakh names have been rejected and 2.48 lakh names have been put on hold.
The process for making claims and objections will begin on August 30 and continue till September 28.