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Election Commission: no names removed based on draft NRC

SC wants list of names included in Assam rolls from 2017

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday assured the Supreme Court that names have not been deleted from the Assam electoral roll on the basis of their exclusion from the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was published in July last year.

However, a Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was not satisfied.

“But a question looms large in the light of the preparation of the final NRC, to be published on July 31, 2019. What would happen to those who do not appear there but are included in the electoral roll?” Chief Justice Gogoi asked the poll body.

The court further directed the ECI to furnish details of the names included in the electoral roll on January 1, 2017, 2018 and 2019 in Assam.

Seeks affidavit

The Bench quizzed the ECI secretary, who was present in court, on electors in each constituency in Assam, addition and deletion. The court wanted an affidavit by March 28.

The Supreme Court had earlier asked the ECI Secretary to appear before it on March 12 in connection with this PIL petition, filed by Assam-based residents Gopal Seth and Susanta Sen, alleging that several categories of persons were deprived of voting rights ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

They claimed that one category included persons whose names figured in the draft NRC but not in the voter list. In another category, persons whose names were deleted from the voter list appeared in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018. The petition claimed these people had voted in the last Lok Sabha election in 2014.

The plea also submitted that there were people whose names were not included in the complete draft NRC, but they subsequently filed claims for inclusion. They had voted in the earlier Lok Sabha election and were waiting for inclusion of their names.

The third category of people were those declared foreigners by the foreigners’ tribunal as well as by the Guwahati High Court; the court order was stayed by the Supreme Court.

The petition said the fourth category comprised those already declared foreigners by the tribunal; this was set aside by the Supreme Court. However, their names had been deleted from the voters list pursuant to the order of the tribunal.

In the fifth category were those whose names had not been included in the draft NRC, but their family members were included; these had filed a claim for the inclusion of their names.