Assam citizenship case: SC says Gram panchayat certificates no proof of citizenship

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Wednesday said that a certificate of residency issued by the gram panchayat is not a document of citizenship and is “meaningless” unless supported by some other valid record to make a claim for inclusion in the National Register of Citizenship (NRC).

The verdict was pronounced by a bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and R.F. Nariman. The bench said, “a certificate issued by Gram Panchayat secretary is not a document for citizenship, rather it is meaningless unless it is supported by some other valid document for claim to NRC. This is only a supporting document and, for it to be valid, there needs to be proper verification.”

This would affect 48 lakh women whose citizenship is at stake. They may be displaced.

It must be noted that about 48 lakh claims have been made using certificates issued by gram panchayat secretaries, out of a total of 3.29 crore claims made so far for inclusion in the NRC which is being prepared in Assam to identify illegal migrants.