Genuine citizens dropped from NRC can vote: EC

Genuine citizens dropped from NRC can vote: EC

 People wait to check their names on the draft list at the National Register of Citizens (NRC) centre at a village in Nagaon district. Reuters

Persons left out of the National Register of Citizens in Assam can vote in the 2019 parliamentary elections if they can prove their citizenship and enrol in the fresh electoral rolls to be published on January 4 next.

Though the final NRC for Assam is likely expected by December 31 this year, the Election Commission (EC) will only be guided by the Representation of People's Act, 1951 during a summary revision of electoral rolls. Hence, even persons left out of the NRC can enrol as voters by furnishing documents proving their citizenship, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat clarified on Wednesday.

The EC clarified that the summary revision of electoral rolls was independent of the NRC updation process in Assam.

The poll panel's clarification came amid a political storm over nearly 40 lakh residents of Assam being left out of the draft NRC for the State, published earlier this week. The government has set a December 31 deadline for publishing the final NRC.

The EC stated that the RP Act, 1951 made any person eligible to get enrolled or remain enrolled as a voter, if she or he was a citizen of the country, aged 18 years or more and ordinarily a resident of the assembly constituency in which she or he had sought enrolment or had been enrolled.

Courts can help

If a person left out of the final NRC in Assam moves the courts and secures a stay order, she or he will remain an eligible voter. If a person left out of the final NRC is unable to obtain a court stay, the local Electoral Registration Officer would decide through a quasi-judicial process if she or he could be enrolled or remain enrolled as a voter  in accordance with the RP Act, the EC clarified.

The poll panel, however, asked the Chief Election Officer of Assam to coordinate with the NRC coordinator and make sure that no eligible voter is left out of the fresh electoral rolls.

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