New Delhi, Aug 7: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reprimanded Assam co-coordinator of the National Register for Citizens (NRC) Prateek Hajela and Registrar General of India for speaking to media. The apex court held them guilty of contempt of court, saying it could have sent them to jail. It also restrained them from speaking to media in future without its approval.
In an interview with The Indian Express, Hajela said the NRC exercise was "too premature" and all 40 lakh people who were left out cannot be termed "ghuspethiye" (intruders). When the Supreme Court questioned his authority, Hajela said that he had consulted the RGI and talked to the media to dispel apprehensions regarding dealing of complaints.
“Don’t forget, you are the officers of the court. Your job is to comply with our directions. How can you go to press like this,” a bench comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman said, adding that, it could have sent both of them to jail. The top court reprimanded them and restrained them from going to media in future on the NRC issue.
“We should be holding both of you guilty of contempt and sending both of you to jail. Whatever you say they all reflect on us,” the bench said. It said that it could have taken a “sterner view” of the matter but was letting them of keeping in mind the future task of preparation and publication of final NRC of Assam. They later tendered unconditional apology to the bench.
The NRC report said that out of 3.29 crore people, names of 2.89 crore have been included in the draft NRC. It further said that names of 40,70,707 people do not figure in the list. Of the these, 37,59,630 names have been rejected and the remaining 2,48,077 are on hold. The apex court, which is monitoring the NRC work, had on July 31 said that there will be no coercive action against over 40 lakh people, whose names do not figure in the draft.