The Supreme Court today refused to extend the July 31 deadline for publication of Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC), setting aside a plea to extend the deadline to September 2019. SC said that it cannot give more time due to Lok Sabha elections likely to held within next 3-4 months, adding the process of general elections may continue simultaneously with the NRC exercise in the state. The apex court also ordered Assam chief secretary, state NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela, and EC to hold a meeting within a week to ensure there is no dearth of officials for polls and NRC exercise. The decision on the conduct of NRC verification hearings will also be taken in the meeting. In its order, SC clarified that the process for Lok Sabha elections 2019 may continue simultaneously. During the hearing, the Supreme Court was informed that around 40 lakh persons were left out of draft NRC, over 36 lakh have filed claims for inclusion of their names in the final NRC list. "There are 36.2 lakh claims for inclusion of their names in final NRC, over 2 lakh objections against names included in draft till December 31. Notices to be issued to claimants 15 days before hearing of claims, that will start on February 15," Hajela informed the top court. The NRC exercise is being conducted under the direct monitoring of the Supreme Court. The first draft was released in the intervening night of December 31, 2017 and January 1, 2018 comprising of 1.9 crore names. The second and final draft list of NRC was released on July 30 last year that included names of 2.9 crore people out of the total applications of 3.29 crore.