Summary of Arguments on Day 1 (7th February 2017)

Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Nariman focused their attention on the updating of NRC (National Registration Census) and progress on the fencing of the Indo-Bangladesh border.

The Indian Government instituted the process of NRC in 1951 to determine who are Indian citizens. This was done for the state of Assam as well. The Supreme Court hearing this matter in 2014, had asked the State government to update the NRC for Assam till 24th March 1971. This updating of the citizens' registry was to identify non-citizens or illegal migrants. The updated Registry will include names of those persons (or descendants) whose names appear in the NRC of 1951 and those having legally admissible documents including electoral names issued up to March 24, 1971. The residents having documents dated beyond the cut-off date were liable to be considered non-citizens or illegal immigrants. The bench asked the NRC project coordinator to present a progress report in the next hearing on the NRC update and the steps taken to ensure the accuracy of the NRC Roll.

On the issue of border fencing, the bench expressed displeasure with the Government of India’s assessment of at least 18 months to complete fencing 13.38 km of the border. The Court directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to give adequate justifications for this estimate and posted the matter for 14th February 2017.