Centre seeks time to transfer NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela to Madhya Pradesh

Supreme Court appointed Prateek Hajela as the NRC coordinator to oversee the mammoth and sensitive exercise of finalising and publication of NRC data in Assam . Photo: PTI

The Centre on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking an extension of time for completing formalities to transfer Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) coordinator Prateek Hajela to Madhya Pradesh.

The apex court on October 18 had ordered the Centre and the Assam government to transfer Hajela to his native state Madhya Pradesh within seven days.

The counsel for the Centre on Thursday told the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi that though the government has taken steps to transfer the 1995 batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre but procedural formalities will take some more time.

“You file the application,” the bench, which also comprised Justices SA Bobde and S A Nazeer, said.

Hajela was appointed the NRC coordinator by the top court to oversee the mammoth and sensitive exercise of finalising and publication of Assam NRC data. The top court had ordered the inter-cadre transfer of Hajela on deputation to his native state for the maximum possible period.

The bench had not specified the cause or the reason for passing the order, leading to speculation that the officer might be apprehending some kind of threat after overseeing the gigantic and sensitive task of finalising the Assam NRC.

The top court has already posted the petitions on Assam NRC for further hearing on November 26.

The much-awaited updated final NRC was released on August 31, this year excluding names of over 19 lakh applicants in the state.

A total of 3,30,27,661 people had applied to be included in the NRC. Of them, 3,11,21,004 have been included in the document and 19,06,657 excluded.

The names of 1.9 crore people were published as Part Draft NRC on the midnight of December 31, 2017.

Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951.