Supreme Court of India | Manisha Mondal/ThePrint
Supreme Court of India | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday ordered inter-cadre transfer of Assam NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela to Madhya Pradesh on deputation.

The SC bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S.A. Bobde and R.F. Nariman stated that the deputation is for a maximum period under relevant rules.

To Attorney General K.K. Venugopal’s query on the reason for the transfer, the CJI replied “Can there be any order without a reason?” The CJI, however, didn’t specify any reason.

Advocates privy to the case, however, told ThePrint that the transfer has been ordered after Hajela received “death threats”. 

The Supreme Court has now asked the government to notify his transfer within seven days. 

Hajela was accused of bias

Hajela is a 1995-batch IAS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre. He was entrusted with supervising the humongous exercise of updating the National Register of Citizens list in Assam.

The final NRC list was published on 31 August from which 19 lakh people, including a huge majority of the Muslim population, were excluded. The updated NRC list propelled the state into a vortex of chaos and exposed its decades-old ethnic faultlines. 

Even though Hindus were excluded from the list, they are now pinning their hopes on the government’s Citizenship Amendment Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Christian refugees. 

Hajela, who belongs to Madhya Pradesh, had submitted a report in a sealed cover to the apex court where he is believed to have stated that an immediate transfer out of Assam was needed, sensing the growing communal tensions. Hajela, on the other hand, was accused of showing bias after the final NRC list was published. 

An Assamese organisation has alleged that “even when people had correct documents, NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela intentionally excluded the names of Goriya, Moriya and many indigenous sons of the soil”.


Also read: With Assam NRC, the truth is also out — it was a pointless exercise all along


 

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