By MOHAMMAD WASIM / The Leaflet
IT is important to mention at the outset that the grounds of illegality and unconstitutionality mentioned herein are with respect specifically to National Register of Indian Citizens (‘NRC’) alone, and does not consider the combined effect of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (‘CAA’) and the NRC, which further aggravates the illegality and unconstitutionality of both.
What is NRC under the citizenship law of the country?
- In 2003, the Citizenship Act was amended and Section 14A was instituted in the Act. It provided for a National Register of Indian Citizens, commonly known as NRC. Section 14A stipulates that there should be compulsory registration of Indian citizens, and the registered citizens should be issued a National Identity Card.
- To fulfil the mandate of this section, the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules were framed in 2003, providing for the method and procedure for preparation of the NRC, and for resolution of dispute arising in the process.
- The Rules, prima facie, deal exclusively with the preparation of the NRC, and not the criteria, conditions or the procedure for the determination, acquisition or termination of citizenship, since in that case, the Rules will have to fulfil the requirements of the relevant provisions of the Citizenship Act.
- Yet these NRC-related Rules go beyond their mandate as well as against the provision of the parent Act, and say that persons who do not find their names in the NRC shall be treated as doubtful citizens and maybe referred to Foreigners Tribunal by the concerned District Magistrate, through a provision in an entirely separate Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 1964 under the separate Foreigners Act, 1946.
Para 8 of the Schedule to the 2003 Citizenship Rules says that those who do not find their names in the NRC or others who are aggrieved by the final order of registering authority can appeal to the Foreigners Tribunal, and a concomitant provision was inserted in the Foreigners (Tribunal) Order in the form of Section 2(1B). If the person does not appeal, then the District Magistrate can refer the cases of doubtful citizens to the Foreigners Tribunal for its opinion whether such persons are foreigners or not within the meaning of the Foreigners Act.
The 2003 Rules go beyond their mandate as well as against the provision of the parent Act, and say that persons who do not find their names in the NRC shall be treated as doubtful citizens and maybe referred to Foreigners Tribunal by the concerned District Magistrate, through a provision in an entirely separate Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 1964 under the separate Foreigners Act, 1946.
Thus, the procedure that is followed in case of the doubtful citizens is as if the persons are prima facie foreigners, and by implication the provisions of the Foreigners Act is applicable on them.
What are the grounds of the NRC’s illegality and unconstitutionality?
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