National Registry of citizens Current Affairs - 2019

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Exclusion from draft Assam NRC will not affect voting rights: ECI

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has stated before the Supreme Court that exclusion of names of persons from draft National Registry of Citizens (NRC) in Assam will not affect their voting rights in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls provided their names feature in the electoral rolls.

Petition before the Supreme Court

Petition filed by Gopal Seth and Susanta Sen, residents of Assam feared that people would lose their voting rights due to the ongoing exercise of National Registry of Citizens. The petition highlighted five categories of people:

  • Persons whose names were deleted from the voter list which includes names of those appeared in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018.
  • People whose names were not included in the complete draft NRC, but they subsequently filed claims for inclusion of their names in it.
  • People who have been declared as foreigners by the foreigners’ tribunal as well as the Guwahati High Court. The order which has been stayed by the apex court.
  • People who had already been declared foreigners by the foreigners’ tribunal and such declarations were set aside by the apex court.
  • People whose names have not been included in the draft NRC, but other members of their families, including parents, have been included in the NRC and they have filed their claims for the inclusion of their names.

Allaying the fears the ECI has assured that exclusion of names of persons from draft NRC in Assam will not affect their voting rights in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and sought the dismissal of the petition.

The Supreme Court asked the ECI to provide data about the addition and deletion of names from voters’ list as revised in January for 2017, 2018 and 2019. The case for posted for further hearing on March 28.

Manipur filmmaker to return Padma Shri in protest against Citizenship Amendment Bill

Renowned Filmmaker from Manipur Aribam Syam Sharma has decided to return his 2006 Padma Shri award in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

Why the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has become controversial?

The citizenship amendment bill 2016 aims to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955. The controversial features of the bill are

  • The bill allows the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan to apply for Indian citizenship.
  • The bill relaxes the 11-year cutoff to six years out of 14, for immigrants of the six religions from the three countries.

The bill is criticised for being communal as it grants citizenship on the basis of religion. It is also argued that the bill is against the basic structure of the constitution as the Supreme Court has upheld secularism as a basic structure of the constitution. It is said that the bill also violates Article 14 which promotes equality.

Why the heat against the bill is more in North East?

The issue of illegal immigrants is a sensitive issue in the North-East. Often the states have witnessed clashes and communal riots due to tensions between immigrants and the locals.

The bill is aimed at providing citizenship to illegal immigrants. The North-Eastern states share borders with Bangladesh. It is said that due to porous borders between India and Bangladesh, lakhs of illegal immigrants have crossed over to India and are majorly concentrated in these northeastern states.

The North-Eastern States have often witnessed protests seeking identification of these illegal immigrants and deporting them. Assam Accord and National Registry of Citizens were aimed at curbing the menace of the illegal immigrants.

The people of North East fear that if the bill is implemented their struggle for years would be undermined and there would be a heavy Social, Economical and political burden on the North-East.