Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said that efforts were on to enable around 27 lakh people in the State who have been unable to acquire Aadhaar cards since their biometrics were locked during the process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Replying to a question by Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha in the State Assembly, the Chief Minister hoped “something positive” would emerge from his consultations with the Centre but the government may have to approach the Supreme Court for a solution.
“I hope something positive happens soon. But we cannot go against the Supreme Court’s orders,” Mr. Sarma said, pointing out that the Registrar General of India was yet to notify the NRC.
The apex court has been monitoring the NRC updating exercise, in limbo since its complete draft was published in August 2019.
Following the Supreme Court’s order, the biometrics of 27 lakh people were collected while processing the documents of around 3.3 crore applicants for the NRC. Of these 27 lakh, the names of 19.06 lakh were excluded from the complete NRC draft but the biometrics of the remaining 7.94 lakh who made it to the citizenship list remained frozen.
“The Centre is considering the notification of the NRC and keeping the data safe,” Mr. Sarma said.
“The people are suffering because of this uncertainty. Due to the non-availability of Aadhaar, these people are not able to apply for jobs or ration cards,” Mr. Purkayastha said.
In 2019, the apex court said that people who figure in the NRC after updating the list will get their Aadhaar cards while those on the rejection list will have to reapply for inclusion in the NRC. They will be eligible for Aadhaar cards if their names are included.