Behave like a true State, CJI tells Assam, Centre

The State of Assam and the Centre should behave like a “true State” in the Aristotlian sense, said Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi while hearing the Assam NRC case on Tuesday. The oral observation came on a hearing whether five documents — names in NRC, 1951; names in electoral roll up to March 24, 1971; citizenship certificate and refugee registration certificate; certified copies of pre-1971 electoral roll, particularly those issued from the State of Tripura; and ration card — can be used as proof by 40 lakh people excluded from the draft NRC to establish their Indian legacy during the ongoing claims and objections stage. The Supreme Court, in the previous hearing on September 19, had said that these documents were “capable of being manufactured.” It had asked Assam State NRC Co-ordinator Prateek Hajela to examine the trustworthiness of these documents — part of a total of 15 documents listed by the Centre in their draft Standard Operating Procedure — and file a report. On Tuesday, a Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Nariman informed the Centre and Assam that Mr. Hajeela had reported in the negative. Mr. Hajela concluded that it would be “inexpedient” to base a claimant’s legacy on any of the five documents. The court directed Mr. Hajela to make a powerpoint presentation to the officials of Assam, Centre and other stakeholders represented by senior advocate Kapil Sibal about the conclusions.

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