India

Top Court Orders Assam NRC Chief's Immediate Transfer, No Reason Given

Top Court Orders Assam NRC Chief's Immediate Transfer, No Reason Given
New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Prateek Hajela, 48, is the coordinator of the Assam citizens' list
  2. He will be transferred immediately to Madhya Pradesh, top court said
  3. He faced criticism from parties, civil society over alleged errors in NRC

Prateek Hajela, the man who led the process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, will be transferred immediately to Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court ordered today.

Mr Hajela, the coordinator of the NRC, would be on deputation for a maximum period, said a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The court asked the government to issue an order transferring Mr Hajela immediately.

"Is there a reason for this," the government's lawyer, Attorney General KK Venogupal, asked the judges.

"No order will be without a reason," the Chief Justice replied.

But the order doesn't give the reason.

For many in Assam, the development is a surprise.

Mr Hajela, 48, a 1995 batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, was tasked with supervising the massive exercise of revising the citizen's list in Assam, a complex project that has navigated controversies related to communal and linguistic divides.

He was seen as an able technocrat who could best tackle the job.

He led a team of over 50,000 officials. An IIT alumnus, he faced criticism from political parties as well as civil society organisations over alleged errors in the citizen's list. The strongest critics included leaders of the ruling BJP, who alleged that many Hindus, who are genuine citizens, are missing in the revised list.

Last month, a Muslim organisation filed a case against Mr Hajela, accusing him of excluding "genuine Indian citizens" from the NRC and acting out of bias.



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