SC notices to Centre, State on AAMSU plea

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NEW DELHI, JULY 16: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and Assam Government returnable by August 16 in response to a petition filed by the All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU).
The AAMSU has called upon the National Register of Citizens (NRC) authorities to reject dubious objections against people whose names appear in the final draft.
The organisation has filed a petition in the top Court under Article 32 of the Constitution challenging the constitutional validity of the Foreigners (Tribunals) Amendment Order, 2019 which was issued by the Central Government on May 30.
It has been contended that the order is in violation of the fundamental liberties, guaranteed under Articles 19 and 21, of a large number of people who have not been included in the draft NRC and those who will be preferring an appeal after their non-inclusion in the final NRC scheduled to be published later this month.
Further, it has been contended in the petition that the addition of Clause 6 to Paragraph 3A has resulted in the bypassing of the procedure already established, which provided for the procedure for preferring an appeal for inclusion of name in the NRC. Clause 6 stipulates that a District Magistrate may refer a question as to if a person is a foreigner or not to the foreigners tribunal.
The result of conjoint reading of various provisions because of the amendment means that the reference by the District Magistrate will be heard along with the appeal for inclusion of name in the NRC. This has resulted in complete jumbling up of the two distinct judicial processes.
The petitioners urged that the purpose of setting up such tribunals for identification of foreigners and determination of Indian citizenship will stand frustrated if “unfairness, unreasonableness and arbitrariness” are allowed to creep into the procedure “to thwart the entire gigantic exercise”.
The AAMSU approached the Court in order to highlight the provisions of the 2018 amendment order that was passed by the Central Government without any form of consultation taking place with the stakeholders, particularly with regard to Clauses 6 and 10.
The petitioners also challenged Clause 1 of Paragraph 3A of the amendment order inasmuch as there exists ambiguity between the Paragraph 8 of the Schedule to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 and the amendment order.
Meanwhile, Assam Government’s counsel Shuvodeep Roy, when contacted, said that they are pressing for an early hearing of the NRC matter because several other applications are also pending. He said that a hearing is expected to take place before the publication of the final NRC on July 31. (Courtesy: AT)