JORHAT, Sept 10:Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM) convenor and Supreme Court lawyer Upamanyu Hazarika Tuesday said that the power to review and undertake re-verification of those wrongfully entered in the NRC was an executive power vested in the government and there was no requirement to seek orders from the Supreme Court in this regard. Expressing fear that by 2040 Bangladeshi migrants would be the majority population in Assam, the Manch has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal regarding the protection of the rights of the indigenous people.
Addressing a meet in Guwahati on Tuesday, Hazarika said that a large number of ministers, BJP leaders, AGP, AASU etc., had been making public announcements of approaching the Supreme Court seeking re-verification of the NRC but in terms of the existing legal provisions there is no requirement as the Government has all the powers to do it itself.
“Under the provisions of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003, the power to direct re-verification, both at the draft NRC stage and after publication of the final NRC rests in the executive and there is no necessity to apply to the court,” he said.
Hazarika further said that under Rule 4 of the Schedule to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Card) Rule 2003, the draft NRC re-verification power rests in the District Registrar of Citizen Registration mainly the District Magistrate. In case of the NRC after its final publication Rule 10 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Card) Rule 2003 vests power in the Registrar General or his nominee to remove any names from the citizens list if it is found to be on the basis of incorrect particulars. The person concerned under sub-rule 3 has to be informed within 30 days and has a right of appeal to the authority within a period of 30 days.
The statutory position being that the executive has the authority to re-verify entries in the NRC, a fact-finding investigation in this regard will enable the Registrar General to undertake re-verification.”Pointing out the above statutory provision, we have submitted a memorandum today to Narendra Modi –Prime Minister, Amit Shah – Union home minister and Sarbananda Sonowal – chief minister of Assam,” Hazarika said.”We have also sought their intervention towards the long-lasting solution of protecting the indigenous in Assam from becoming a minority by ensuring a legal protection reserving land, employment, trade and educational opportunities only to those who were citizens in 1951 and their progeny,” he further said.
Hazarika stressed that the entire task of NRC preparation, providing legal safeguards vested in the executive and in the legislature.”The courts and in the present case – the Supreme Court intervened in the process only as the government did not act. Had successive governments carried out the NRC updating process of their volition, intervention of the Supreme Court would not have been warranted and it is now up to the government and the leaders to take forward the task which is actually theirs and not the court’s, ” he said.