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SC rebukes Assam NRC coordinator, RGI, restrains them from talking to media
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NEW DELHI, Aug 7 (Agencies): The Supreme Court on Tuesday rebuked Assam's National Register of Citizen (NRC) coordinator Prateek Hajela and the Registrar General of India Sailesh for their statements on the NRC issue and advised them from speaking to media in future without its permission. The bench chaired by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that you were given the responsibility of preparing a draft, but you gave an irresponsible statement to the media. "Your job is to prepare the draft, not to brief the media. Who are you to give a statement in the media?"

The apex court said it could have sent them to jail for contempt. The bench termed it as "most unfortunate" the statements made by Hajela and Sailesh to media on the issue of dealing with claims and objections of those who have been left out in the draft NRC.

"Are you in any manner concerned with the claims and objections to be made... What have you said in newspapers and tell us how are you concerned with that," a visibly angry Justice Gogoi told the officials and asked them to read the news reports in the court.

"Don't forget, you are the officers of the court. Your job is to comply with our directions. How can you go to press like this," the bench said adding that, it could have sent both of them to jail.

The bench said that it had asked the Centre to formulate standard operating procedures to deal with the claims and objections of those who have been left out in the draft NRC and accused the officials of making statements on modalities which squarely fell in its domain. "We should be holding both of you guilty of contempt and sending both of you to jail. Whatever you say they all reflect on us," the bench said.

It said that it could have taken a "sterner view" of the matter but was letting them of keeping in mind the future task of preparation and publication of final NRC of Assam. "Your job is not to go to press holding the brief for somebody," the bench said and fixed the matter on August 16. Hajela said that he had consulted the RGI and talked to the media to dispel apprehensions regarding dealing of complaints.

However, they tendered an unconditional apology to the bench.

News Updated at : Wednesday, August 8, 2018
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