An NRC seva kendra. (file image)

A day after Assam government made public the district-wise data of persons not included in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), civil rights body Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RAAG) has urged the Supreme Court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the government.

Taking a dig at the BJP led Assam government RAAG director Suhas Chakma on Friday said that the move tantamount to contempt of court.

He said that the release of the district-wise draft NRC data by the Government of Assam before the State Assembly constitutes contempt of court as the Supreme Court had specifically directed the NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela not to share any information pertaining to the ongoing update exercise with any executive, legislative or judicial authority without leave of the top court considering its sensitivity.

Chakma said that the apex court in its order dated September 19, 2018 had rejected the plea of the Union government to share the draft data.

“In its order the apex Court while rejecting the prayer of the Union of India to share the confidential report/reports filed by the NRC Coordinator placed before the Supreme Court in a sealed cover(s) stated, ‘Though Shri K.K. Venugopal, learned Attorney General for India has stated that a copy of the said report/reports be made available to the Union of India, we are of the view that having regard to the sensitive nature of some of the information contained therein which may affect the entire exercise undertaken and also the exercise that may be required to be undertaken by the Court the said 12 report/reports should remain in the custody of the Court for the present.

“In the meantime, we direct Shri Prateek Hajela not to share any information pertaining to the ongoing exercise of updation of the NRC with any Executive, Legislative or Judicial Authority of the State without leave of the Court,” Chakma said while quoting the apex court’s order.

“The data presented and prepared by Hajela has not been finalised and final report shall be released only on August 31, 2019. Therefore, the disclosure of the draft data interferes with and obstructs the administration of justice, and further scandalises and lowers the authority of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court should suo motu initiate contempt proceedings into the matter,” he said.

A total of 41,10,169 persons stand excluded from the NRC at present i.e. 40,07,707 persons were excluded from the NRC on 30th July  2018 when the Draft NRC was published while 1,02,462 persons were excluded on June 26, 2019.

Commenting on the data released by the Assam government, Chakma said that it is based on our own studies that majority of the tribals do not possess or have not preserved the so called legacy data to prove their citizenship despite being descendants of the indigenous peoples of Assam.

“The process unduly victimises the poor and those who have not preserved the legacy data or did not possess the data as the State had not reached to them before 1971,” he added.

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