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Writ Petition for originally inhabitants of state of Assam

Writ Petition for direction, 'originally inhabitants of State of Assam', disposed off. Supreme Court Judgment

December 6, 2017

The Supreme Court disposed of a batch of petitions 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.


A Bench of Justice Ranjan Gogi and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman heard the Writ Petitioners and IA applicants, examined the issue seeking clarification as to the meaning of the term "originally inhabitants of State of Assam", disposed off the matter and passed Judgment on December 5, 2017.

The Bench observed that:
"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 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."

The court also observed that:
"The prayer made in the writ petitions and the Intervention Applications, 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 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."

The court said that "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."



The court disposed off the petition with a conclusion that: "We do not find any reason to issue any direction or 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."




Read the Judgment of Supreme Court dated 05.12.2017



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