People wait in a queue to check their names on the final draft of the state’s National Register of Citizens after it was released, at an NRC Seva Kendra, in Morigaon, Assam.

India Mulls Biometrics For Those Excluded From Assam’s Draft National Registry

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it is contemplating taking biometric details of over 40 lakh people, whose names did not figure in the final National Register of Citizens draft in Assam, to avoid their influx to other states on false identity.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman was told by Attorney General K K Venugopal, that some states including West Bengal, fear that people whose name has not found mention in the second and final draft NRC, will migrate to other states. The bench responded the government is free to do whatever it wants and the court will examine it.

The top court said there will be no coercive action against the over 40 lakh excluded persons as it was merely a draft. It asked the government to formulate modalities and standard operating procedures, including timelines for deciding the claims and objections arising out of the publication. They want a submission by August 16.

During the hearing, an association of transgenders requested the bench to give 20,000 transgenders a second chance to fill NRC forms. The bench said, “You missed the bus. We cannot re-open the entire exercise now”.

The court, however, said it would hear all interlocutory applications on August 16, the next date of hearing on the main matter.

The second and final draft of the NRC, which is a list of the state’s citizens, was published yesterday with over 2.89 crore names out of 3.29 crore applicants in Assam. Names of around 40.07 lakh applicants did not figure in the document. The first NRC draft was published in December end as per the top court’s direction.

Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951.

The top court, which is monitoring the NRC work, had earlier said that the claims of those citizens, whose names do not figure in the draft by December 31 last year, would be scrutinised and included in the subsequent list, if found genuine.