Seeking extension of deadline for the publication of the final NRC list, the Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that a large number of people have been wrongly included in the draft NRC being prepared in Assam.
“Apparently, there are more wrong inclusions on the list due to corrupt practices by lower level officers. Therefore, we need re-verification. We have experienced this wrongful inclusion in districts sharing the border with Bangladesh,” solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and Assam, said.
“We cannot afford to become the refugee capital in the world,” he added.
Mehta contended that there was a growing perception that exclusions and inclusions had been made in the list in a wrong manner.
Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi made an oral observation that NRC state coordinator Prateek Hajela’s report claimed that nearly 80 lakh names had already been verified.
“In such a scenario, why is there a need for a sample re-verification? If we are satisfied that verification has been done properly, then there is no need for a sample re-verification, don’t you think,” the CJI shot back at Mehta.
To this, Mehta replied that re-verification will help the authorities weed out illegal immigrants who have bribed NRC officials to get their names on the list.
NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela, however, said that it requires time for consolidation of the list.
Hajela sought extension for August 31 stating that some more time is required for the supplementary list.
The government had earlier filled a petition in the apex court seeking 20 percent re-verification in border districts and 10 percent re-verification in the rest of Assam.
“We have asked for 100 percent re-verification,” said Assam Public Works (APW) president Abhijeet Sharma. APW is a petitioner in the case.
The apex court will give its order over government’s plea on Tuesday. Earlier, the court set July 31 as the deadline for the final publication of NRC.
The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of December 31, 2017 and January 1, 2018 following the top court’s direction. Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated then.