December 08, 2017
Sufiya Begum v. Union of India
Date of Judgment: December 05, 2017
In this recent judgment, the Supreme Court clarifies that those citizens who are original residents of the State of Assam and those who are not are at par for inclusion in National Register of Citizenship (NRC). The Apex Court also stated that the sole test of inclusion in NRC is Citizenship under the Constitution of India and the Citizenship Act.
In this case, the petition was instituted seeking directions from the Court as to the manner in which the expression “originally inhabitants of the State of Assam” appearing in Clause 3(3) of the Schedule (Special Provisions as to manner of Preparation of National Register of Indian Citizen in State of Assam) to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issues of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
In the case, the Petitioners apprehended that by the process of verification of the claims for inclusion in the NRC (National Register of Citizens) based on the claim to be originally inhabitants of the State of Assam a superior class of citizens is being created.
The petitioners in the case also apprehended that the question that who is originally inhabitant of the State of Assam may also have impact on the entitlement of such persons in the matter of opportunities for education, employment etc. when compares to the second category of citizens i.e. who are not originally inhabitants of Assam.
Bench’s verdict– The Supreme Court has put to rest all apprehensions and speculations in the case and held that the exercise of upgradation of NRC is not intended to be one of identification and determination of who are originally inhabitants of the State of Assam. The Court further affirmed that the sole test for inclusion in the NRC is citizenship under the Constitution of India and under the Citizenship Act including Section 6A of the Citizenship Act. Citizens who are originally inhabitants/residents of the State of Assam and those who are not are at par for inclusion in the NRC.
The Court in the case directed the Centre to lay down the procedure by which such persons i.e. “originally inhabitants of the State of Assam” are required to be identified.
 Section 6A of the Citizenship Act provides for special provisions as to citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord