Assam NRC hearing| How is government going to make Bangladesh border impermeable, asks Supreme Court

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The NRC case is on a challenge to the constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act which was inserted through an amendment in 1985 in furtherance of the Assam Accord

The Supreme Court today heard the submission on behalf of the State of Assam and Central government in the pleas pertaining to Assam's National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is a challenge to the constitutional validity of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act.

A five-judge bench began hearing this case on December 5.

While hearing the submissions on behalf of State of Assam, a CJI DY Chandrachud led bench asked the Central government about the steps it was going to take to make the Bangladesh Border impermeable.

"What are we doing from here onwards to ensure that we have an impermeable border..what are the executive steps that the government of India is taking..because this is a crucial problem independent of 6A..", asked the constitution bench.

The bench also comprising Justices Surya Kant, Sundresh, Pardiwala and Manoj Misra also asked the government about its decision to apply said provision only to the state of Assam.

"We want to hear from you now on the Article 14 aspect..why did you single out ASSAM when WEST BENGAL shares a much larger border with Bangladesh..was there a cogent reason for it..", the CJI asked. 

When the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta began making submissions today clarified before the bench that the examination in the present case was a limited issue which had nothing to do with other amendments of the Citizenship Act.

"All the concerns of the petitioners are true but declaring Section 6A to be unconstitutional is not the solution..", the SG added.

Earlier, Union of India had placed a request before the Supreme Court of India for issuing procedural directions in the matter pertaining to Assam's NRC, when it would be taken up today by a Constitution Bench.

A bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud along with Justices AS Bopanna, MM Sundresh, JB Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra will start hearing the Assam NRC case from September 20 along with two other matters.

Supreme Court of India had issued a notification recently stating that it had set up a five-judge Constitution Bench to hear the matter involving the issues of Assam NRC, reservations in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies and immunity for MPs and MLAs from being prosecuted for bribery charges.

Section 6A is a special provision on the citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord and provides that the people who entered India between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971, and have been living in Assam, would be allowed to register themselves as citizens of India.

Calling out this provision to be discriminatory, a direction is sought to the concerned authority to update the NRC based on the details incorporated in the NRC prepared in 1951 as opposed to updating the same by taking account of the electoral rolls prior to March 24, 1971.

Case Title: In Re Section 6A of the Citizenship Act