Hailing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as a "document for future", Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, on Sunday said there was an "urgent need" to identify illegal migrants in Assam.
Speaking on a book launch event, Justice Gogoi said, "This is an occasion to put things in proper perspective, National Register of Citizens (NRC), as it may finally emerge, is not a document of the moment. It's not about 19 lakhs or 40 lakhs. It's a base document for the future."
He further said, "There was an urgent need to ascertain with some degree of certainty the number of illegal migrants, which is what the current exercise of NRC had attempted, nothing more nothing less."
The CJI criticised whom he called "armchair commentators" for raising questions on the NRC exercise.
"Assam people are victims of armchair commentators where due process was questioned and challenges thrown at the attempt of the democratic process. An enormous amount of guesswork about NRC fuelled panic," he said.
However, he admitted that there were some problems in the implementation of the NRC. "NRC is not without its problems," he stated.
In the final NRC list published on August 31, a total of 3,11,21,004 persons were found eligible for inclusion in the list leaving out 19,06,657 persons, including those who did not submit their claims in Assam.
While several Opposition leaders have questioned the NRC exercise in Assam, several leaders of BJP and RSS, and other right-wing outfits have demanded its country-wide implementation.