MHA wants to destroy NRC process: SC raps govt over request to withdraw troops for poll duty

The Supreme Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Union Home Ministry over its request to withdraw Central forces deployed in Assam for the National Register of Citizens exercise citing Lok Sabha elections. Expressing anguish over the MHA demand, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the Centre was hell-bent on not allowing the NRC process to go on. “It seems the Home Ministry doesn’t want NRC work to go on and the entire effort from them is to destroy the process,” CJI Gogoi said.
The Supreme Court’s scathing remarks came after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Assam government, said the NRC exercise might have to be suspended from the last date for withdrawal of nominations till polling day. Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal said the NRC exercise might have to be extended by two more weeks as forces from the state had to be withdrawn and redeployed. However, the CJI rejected the request and reiterated that the deadline for publishing the final NRC for Assam won’t be extended beyond July 31.
Responding to the attorney general, Gogoi said the government was not cooperating in the NRC process. “If you want, there are 1001 ways to get the NRC exercise completed. Do you want us to summon the Home Secretary,” the CJI said.
With more than 50,000 state government staffers employed to work for the NRC, conducting the process and the general elections in parallel will prove to be a logistical nightmare.
Taking a view of the matter, the apex court asked the Election Commission to consider exempting certain state officers from election duty to ensure that the NRC process continued without any hindrance.


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