Transfers of officials despite SC order could hamper NRC work in Assam

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Guwahati, March 2: The transfer of some officials supervising the ongoing last phase of update of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam will hamper the process, officials familiar with development said. The reshuffle came despite Supreme Court’s request to the Election Commission of India to examine the case for exemption of these officials from transfers.
According to an official as many as 17 additional deputy commissioners involved in supervision of NRC hearings of the claims and objections phase have been transferred have been since February 5 in light of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
This official said that the office of the State Coordinator of the NRC (SCNRC) had moved the Supreme Court for exemption of the officials for it wanted to make sure that the process is completed within the stipulated July 31 deadline set by the top court. “These officials are familiar of the process, the local equations. Changing them would definitely hamper the process,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity when asked how the transfer of such a small number of officials would hamper the process.
In its February 5 order, the Supreme Court, acting on a report submitted by the SCNRC had directed that adequate number of officials (3457 as indicated by the SCNRC) be kept free for NRC work.
“We also request the ECI to examine the case of exemption of officers in the rank of District Magistrates, Additional District Magistrates, etc., as mentioned in paragraph 4 of the of the report of the state coordinator, from transfers which are likely to made in view of elections,” the apex court had said.
It is learnt that after the Supreme Court order, the SCNRC wrote to the chief electoral officer, Assam and the state government to ensure that the officials are not moved.
The home department of the state government which is coordinating the NRC work said the reshuffle was carried out by the department of personnel. “We are not involved. It was done by the Department of Personnel,” said Ashutosh Agnihotri, Principal Secretary.
An official of the department of personnel said it merely carried out the directives of the Election Commission of India.
Mukesh Chandra Sahu, chief electoral officer, Assam said “it is an inter-departmental matter. We will look into it.”
The 17 ADCs who have been transferred, meanwhile, are yet to be relieved after an earlier directive from the SCNRC to the deputy commissioners in the districts. (Courtesy: HT)