Supreme Court Current Affairs - 2020

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SC extends deadline for publication of final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens

Supreme Court has extended deadline for publication of final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) from earlier June 30, 2018 to July 31, 2018. This extension comes after Central Government and the state coordinator of NRC agreed to publish it within the new time limit.

Key Facts

The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam. The major northeastern state had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since early 20th century. It is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951. SC for giving extension to deadline had considered report of state NRC coordinator. The report had mentioned that it would be not be possible to release final draft of the NRC as scheduled on June 30, 2018 due to the floods in state.

National Register of Citizens (NRC)

NRC contains the names of bona fide Indian Citizens of Assam that distinguish them from the foreigners. It is updated periodically. However, in Assam the updation could not be carried on since 1951 due to various political tensions such as Assam Movement of 1980s, the language movement and other ethnic movements.

It was first updated in 1951 but since then it has been not updated due to various political tensions such as Assam Movement of 1980s, language movement and other ethnic movements. But now it is being updated in time bound manner after Supreme Court judgment (2014) to incorporate Assam Accord of 1985 in order to tackle the issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh.

NRC is being updated as per provisions of Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. It will include names of person or their descendants whose name appear in NRC 1951 or any of Electoral Rolls up to midnight of 24th March 1971.

The actual implementation of NRC is done by Statutory Authorities i.e. Local Registrars and District Magistrates appointed by State Government. A senior official of State Government functions as State Coordinator and coordinates with Registrar General of Citizen Registration (RGI) in regard to various activities.

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Reservations in Promotions: Centre gets go ahead from SC

The Supreme Court has allowed Centre to go ahead with reservation in promotion for SC/ST employees as per the law. From the centre’s behalf, the Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh had pleased SC to allow promotions, which were on standstill, as per mandate of the constitution. This plea was accepted by SC bench hearing the case.

Background

With respect to the reservation in promotions in government jobs, the Supreme Court verdict in M Nagaraj Case (2006) that concept of creamy layer is not applicable to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Two earlier cases viz. Indra Sawhney Case (1992) and E V Chinnaiah versus State of Andhra Pradesh (2005) had dealt with the issue of creamy layer for Other Backward Classes. On this basis, the centre had issued an order in 2017 extending reservation in promotions to SC and ST employees beyond five years from November 16,1992. This government order was challenged in Delhi High Court. The Delhi High Court quashed the Central Government order and thus, the promotions came to at standstill.

Central Government later approached Supreme Court for relief and the current SC order provides that much needed relief to Centre.

What next?

The case is still sub judice in Supreme Court. A constitutional bench will examine the issue as to whether the M Nagaraj judgement, which dealt with the issue of application of the ‘creamy layer’ for reservation to SC and ST categories in promotion in government jobs, should be re-examined or not.

Reservation in Promotions

Reservations in promotions are mandated by Article 16 (4A) of the constitution. This article is an enabling provision and enables the state to provide for reservation in matters of promotion to SC/ST which in its opinion were not adequately represented in the services.

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