Ahead of the Lok Sabha election, the Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that the Central forces deployed in Assam for the process of National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not be withdrawn for election purpose.
A bench comprising of Chief Justice (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton F Nariman will hear the matter next on April 10.
In 2018, ahead of the release of the second and final draft of NRC on July 30, the Centre had sent over 22,000 central paramilitary troops to step up security in Assam and adjoining States. According to a local media, a total of 220 companies of the CAPF (Central Armed Paramilitary Force) were additionally sent to ensure law and order.
Among all the forces the largest contingent is from the CRPF (53 companies), then Sashastra Seema Bal (41), followed by BSF (40), ITBP (27), CISF (20) and lastly by the Railway Protection Force (5). A total of 34 companies of the special auxillary police were also sent. A company of paramilitary comprises 100 personnel.
Earlier on February 5, the apex court had slammed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), saying that it was trying to stop the work related to the NRC. The top court said that the MHA doesn't want the NRC to carry on and hence as it doesn't want to cooperate, every time it comes up with different stories to destroy this process.
Coming down heavily on the Centre over the NRC process, the SC had rapped the Home Ministry for its plea seeking to stall the NRC work for two weeks keeping in mind the role of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in the election duty.
The top court had reiterated that the July 31, 2019, deadline for the completion of NRC exercise, of making the final report, will not be extended. The court had also said that the election and exercise of NRC should not be affected.
The first draft of the ongoing NRC process was released on the intervening night of December 31, 2017, and January 1, 2018, wherein the names of 1.9 crore of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated. During the publication of first part draft NRC on the expiry of midnight 2017, there were 85 CAPF companies in Assam.
The Lok Sabha election will start on April 11 and continue till May 19 in seven phases. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.