The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Assam government to complete the work on upgradation of the National Register of Citizens by May 31 as it rejected the plea for time till June 30, saying its job is to make impossible possible.
Refusing to extend time, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, along with Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, asked the Assam government to pull up its socks.
"What everybody thought a big joke is a reality. Our job is to make impossibility a possibility," said Justice Gogoi, brushing aside submission by Attorney General K.K. Venugopal that it was a "physical impossibility".
As Venugopal said the court does not know many things about ground realities, he said: "There are many thing that we know but we don't make a comment about them."
Justice Nariman added: "This court is doing the best," inviting a quick response from Venugopal who said: "I can't say."
The bench also shrugged off the plea for relaxation of time in the wake of the panchayat and local body elections scheduled for March-April as it would involve the diversion of manpower for holding elections.
The elections will be held as per the plans and schedule drawn up by the State Election Commission and the work on the NRC will continue as before, the court said.
It added that it was up to the State Election Commission and the state government to make necessary arrangements for holding elections.
"You import men and material, import manpower. You will not interfere with the finalisation of the NRC," Justice Gogoi said, adding: the State Election Commission and the state officials will be held responsible for any diversion of officials.
Seeking more time, state co-ordinator Prateek Hajela told the court they have yet to verify another one crore people and thereafter there would be mop-up round.
Asking Hajela to squeeze the work under the deadline, the court said that both work should be completed by May 31.