NRC issue: Separate biometric ID for people filing claims and objections

New Delhi: The Centre told the Supreme Court that distinct IDs will be created by collecting biometric details of 40 lakh people filing claims and objections with respect to Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC).

It said that after the publication of the final list of NRC, those people whose name will figure in it will be given usual Aadhaar number as applicable to legal residents in the country.

A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph was told by Attorney General K K Venugopal that the Centre has prepared the SOP as per apex court’s earlier order.

The bench asked them to file the report before the registry, and it will be taken up for hearing on 16 August.

The government in its affidavit told the apex court that though it had been initially proposed that the process of claims and objections will happen from 30 August to 28 September, it would be reasonable to give at least two months time for receiving claims and objections.

It said that during the course of the hearings by NCR authorities on disposing of claims and objections, the state government in collaboration with UIDAI will undertake the process of biometric enrolment of all the applicants of NRC.

“The biometric enrolment in respect of persons who are part of claims and those persons objected upon will be distinctive and separate ID will be generated.

Once the final NRC has been published, such persons who are included in the NRC will be given the usual Aadhaar number as applicable to legal residents in the country,” the government said.

It said that in case a person already has Aadhaar number who is also a part of the claim or objected upon, his Aadhaar number will be obtained.

The government which filed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be adopted for disposing of claims and objections with regard to NRC, said that various organisations have made representations that adequate time period at least 3 to 4 months be provided for the purpose of filing the claims and objections.

“It has been initially proposed that the process of claims and objections will happen from August 30 to September 28, 2018. However, it would be reasonable to give at least two months time for receiving claims and objections,” it said.

Giving the timeline based on assumption, it said that Class-1 officers will be deployed by the State government and 5 hearing per day will take place or eight hearings per day for cases of children of 14 years or less.

It said that although the hearings on claims and objections will commence from 15 December 2018, the timeline for disposal can only be firmed up once the actual number of claims and objections received are known.

It further gave the details as what documents will be needed and what not at the stage of filing of claims and objections and at the stage of hearing by NRC authorities.

On 31 July, the apex court had made it clear that there will be no coercive action by authorities against over 40 lakh people, whose names do not figure in NRC, observing that it was merely a draft.

It had asked the Centre to formulate modalities and the SOPs, including timelines, for deciding claims and objections arising out of the publication of the draft NRC.

It had said that the modalities and SOPs prepared by the ministry concerned of the government of India should be “fair and giving reasonable opportunity to everyone.”

Second draft NRC list was published on 30 July in which out of 3.29 crore people, names of 2.89 crores have been included in the draft NRC.

Names of 40,70,707 people do not figure in the list. Of these, 37,59,630 names have been rejected, and the remaining 2,48,077 are on hold.

The first draft of the NRC for Assam was published on the intervening night of 31 December and 1 January according to the top court’s direction.

Names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated. Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951.

The top court, which is monitoring the NRC work, had earlier said that the claims of those citizens, whose names do not figure in the draft NRC for Assam published by 31 December last year, would be scrutinised and included in the subsequent list if found genuine.