SC seeks explanation from NRC coordinator on FB posts

SC seeks explanation from NRC coordinator on FB posts

Though the court initially said the integrity of the officer cannot be doubted and those posts might have been made before his appointment, it decided to seek his explanation. (Reuters photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Assam government to ensure newly appointed NRC coordinator Hitesh Dev Sarma explained or withdrew some of his objectionable and communal Facebook posts related to the presence of illegal immigrants in the bordering state.

A bench comprising of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justice B R Gavai and Justice Surya Kant passed its direction on a plea made by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who cited some of the posts on “East Pakistani Muslims” and “minority appeasement” made by the officer, to show his predilections.

Though the court initially said the integrity of the officer cannot be doubted and those posts might have been made before his appointment, it decided to seek his explanation. “He should not be saying all this. Whatever you want, you have to explain this,” the bench told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Assam government.

A 1986-batch Assam Civil Service officer, Sarma took over from then NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela, whom the top court had transferred to Madhya Pradesh, after the completion of the massive process of preparing the register. As many as 19 lakh people were kept out of the Assam NRC in the exercise undertaken under the supervision of the Supreme Court.

During the hearing, the court recorded a statement from Attorney General K K Venugopal that children of parents who have been given citizenship will not be separated and sent to the detention centre following the NRC. A plea was made before the court that as many as 60 children were excluded from the NRC and faced a threat of being sent to the detention centre, even though their parents were included in the register.

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