A division bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman issued the order during a hearing of petitions regarding the ongoing exercise.
The NRC coordinator office informed the bench that verification of nearly 2 crore applications was almost complete but another 38 lakh is still to be verified and hence the extension of deadline till July 31 is needed. The bench, however, rejected the plea and asked them to complete verification and publish the draft NRC within January 31.
The NRC is being updated with March 24, 1971 as the cut off date as agreed in the Assam Accord of 1985 signed between the then Rajiv Gandhi government, All Assam Students' Union and other organisations who led the anti-foreigner movement between 1979-1985.
Those failing to prove their/their forefathers presence in Assam or any other parts of the country on or before the cut off date will be barred from NRC inclusion and identified for deportation.
Advisor of All Assam Students' Union, Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharjyya, while welcoming the Supreme Court's order today said it was responsibility of the BJP governement, both at the centre and the state to complete the NRC on time as it promised to solve the Bangladeshi issue, before the elections.
Assam government has issued an alert across the state stating that intelligence inputs suggested that "a section" might try to create law and order problem as a large number of illegal migarnts from Bangladesh would be identified during the NRC exercise.
Assam share 436km of border with Bangladesh of which 48km has still remained unfenced. The court slammed the centre when it came to light that only 26km of fencing was done in the past eight years.
Infiltration, cattle and drug smuggling is going on through the unfenced border mainly in lower Assam's Dhubri district through the riverine border.