National Register of Indian Citizen = who is originally inhabitant of the State of Assam – apprehensions are wholly unfounded.= The exercise of upgradation of NRC is not intended to be one of identification and determination of who are originally inhabitants of the State of Assam.The sole test for inclusion in the NRC is citizenship under the Constitution of India and under the Citizenship Act including Section 6A thereof. Citizens who are originally inhabitants/residents of the State of Assam and those who are not are at par for inclusion in the NRC.

 

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REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL/APPELLATE JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 1020 OF 2017
KAMALAKHYA DEY PURKAYASTHA
AND ORS. …PETITIONER(S)
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA
AND ORS. …RESPONDENT(S)
WITH
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 1096 OF 2017
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 1095 OF 2017
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 1101 OF 2017
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 1104 OF 2017
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 1147 OF 2017
&
I.A.NO.101687 OF 2017 IN SLP(C)NO.13259 OF 2017
J U D G M E N T
RANJAN GOGOI,J.
1. Heard the learned counsels for the
parties.
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2. The writ petitions and the
Interlocutory Application(s) under
consideration have been filed seeking
directions from the Court as to the manner
in which the expression “originally
inhabitants of the State of Assam”
appearing in Clause 3(3) of the Schedule
(Special Provisions as to manner of
Preparation of National Register of Indian
Citizen in State of Assam) to the
Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and
Issues of National Identity Cards) Rules,
2003, is to be understood and furthermore
for directions laying down the procedure by
which such persons are required to be
identified.
3. Relevant clauses of the Schedule
including Clause 3(3) reads as follows:
“2. Manner of preparation of draft
National Register of Indian Citizen in
State of Assam—
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(1)(a) ……
(b) ……….
(c) …………
(2) The Local Registrar of
Citizen Registration shall receive
the filled up application forms,
at the same place where the
applications are issued, and issue
the receipt thereof to the
applicant.
(3) The Local Registrar of
Citizen Registration, after the
receipt of the application under
sub-paragraph (2) shall scrutinize
the applications and after its
verification, prepare a
consolidated list thereof which
shall contain the names of the
following persons, namely—
(a) person whose name
appear in any of the
electoral rolls upto the
midnight of the 24th day of
March, 1971 or in National
Register of Citizens, 1951;
(b) descendants of the
persons mentioned in clause
(a) above;
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3. Scrutiny of applications—
(1) The scrutiny of
applications received under
sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 2
shall be made by comparing the
information stated in the
application form with the official
records and the persons, of whom
the information is found in order,
shall be eligible for inclusion of
their names in the consolidated
list.
(2) The names of persons who
have been declared as illegal
migrants or foreigners by the
competent authority shall not be
included in the consolidated list:
Provided that the names of persons
who came in the State of Assam
after 1966 and before the 25th
March, 1971 and registered
themselves with the Foreigner
Registration Regional Officer and
who have not been declared as
illegal migrants or foreigners by
the competent authority shall be
eligible to be included in the
consolidated list.
(3) The names of persons who
are originally inhabitants of the State
of Assam and their children and
descendants, who are Citizens of
India, shall be included in the
consolidated list if the
citizenship of such persons is
ascertained beyond reasonable
doubt and to the satisfaction of
the registering authority;
(underlining is ours)
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(4) The Local Registrar of
Citizens Registration may, in case
of any doubt in respect of
parental linkage or any particular
mentioned in the application
received under sub-paragraph (3)
of paragraph 2, refer the matter
to the District Magistrate for
investigation and his decision and
Local Registrar of Citizens
Registration shall also inform the
same to the individual or the
family.”
4. Clause 3(3) provides for
identification of persons entitled to be
included in the National Register of
Citizens (NRC) by a process different from
what is enumerated in Clause 3(2) and,
therefore, the said Clause i.e. 3(3)
constitutes an exception thereto. Clause
3(3) contemplates a less strict and
vigorous process for deciding claims for
inclusion in the NRC insofar as persons who
are originally inhabitants of the State of
Assam are concerned. Identification of
persons who are originally inhabitants of
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the State of Assam as against those who are
not does not determine any entitlement for
inclusion in the NRC which is on the basis
of proof of citizenship alone and nothing
else. Neither does such identification
confer any special entitlement or benefit.
This has, infact, been clarified in several
of the reports submitted by the learned
Coordinator before this Court.
5. The prayer made in the writ
petitions and the I.As, as admitted in the
course of the hearing by the learned
counsels for the writ
petitioners/applicants, is founded on an
apprehension that by the process of
verification of the claims for inclusion in
the NRC based on the claim to be originally
inhabitants of the State of Assam a
superior class of citizens is being
created. The question who is originally
inhabitant of the State of Assam, according
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to the applicants and the writ petitioners,
may also have impact on the entitlement of
such persons in the matter of opportunities
for education, employment etc. vis-a-vis
the second category of citizens i.e. who
are not originally inhabitants of Assam.
6. All such apprehensions are wholly
unfounded. The exercise of upgradation of
NRC is not intended to be one of
identification and determination of who are
originally inhabitants of the State of
Assam. The sole test for inclusion in the
NRC is citizenship under the Constitution
of India and under the Citizenship Act
including Section 6A thereof. Citizens who
are originally inhabitants/residents of the
State of Assam and those who are not are at
par for inclusion in the NRC.
7. In view of the above, we do not
find any reason to issue any direction or
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clarification as to the meaning of the term
“originally inhabitants of the State of
Assam” as sought for in the present Writ
Petitions and the Interlocutory
Application(s) which are accordingly
disposed of in terms of our directions and
observations as above.
.………………….,J.
(RANJAN GOGOI)
…………………,J.
(ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN)
NEW DELHI
DECEMBER 5, 2017