Giving interim relief to as many as 40 lakh people excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) list, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the publication of the complete draft NRC of Assam cannot be the basis of any coercive action against anyone as it was merely a draft.
The apex court also directed the Centre to provide a fair and reasonable opportunity to people removed from the NRC list to contest their exclusion and asked it to formulate a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) plan to deal with the claims and objections.
A two-judge bench comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman said the Centre should place the SOP before it by August 16 and that a local registrar has to give notice to those who have filed claims and objections and give them a reasonable opportunity for the hearing.
On this, Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) coordinator Prateek Hajela told the court that till August 7, the draft NRC is being made available to the people to see whether their names are there or not.
When asked about the future course of action, Hajela said that the claims and objections with regard to inclusion and exclusion in the NRC could be filed from August 30 to September 28.
Earlier on Monday, the second and final draft of state's citizens was published by the Assam NRC. The list had over 2.89 crore names out of the total 3.29 crore applicants. As many as 40.07 lakh names, who failed to prove their nationality, were excluded from the list.
Assam, which had faced an influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951.
Earlier in 2017, the apex court had earlier said that the claims of those citizens, whose names do not figure in the draft NRC for Assam published by December 31 last year, would be scrutinised and included in the subsequent list if found genuine.
(With inputs from PTI)