What is it?
- The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is the register containing names of Indian citizens.
- NRC was prepared first in 1951 after the conduct of the Census of 1951.
- It is being updated and that too only in Assam.
- Under NRC, one has to link oneself to a family member whose name had appeared either in the NRC of 1951, or to any of the state’s electoral rolls prepared till midnight of 24th March 1971.
- If the applicant’s name is not on any of these lists, he can produce any of the 12 other documents dated up to March 24, 1971.
- Popular movements between 1979 and 1985 against undocumented immigrants in Assam led to the Assam Accord.
- The Assam Accord (1985) was a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement in New Delhi on 15 August 1985.
- As per the accord, all migrants who came to Assam prior to March 24, 1971, would be given citizenship, after fulfilling certain criteria.
- Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971, shall continue to be detected, deleted and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.
- However, the provisions in the Assam accord were not implemented for a long time.
- Finally the Supreme Court, which is supervising the entire process, set a hard deadline of August 31, 2019, for the final NRC.
- The final draft of NRC was released in August 2019 which excluded 19 lakh of the 3.3 crore applicants in Assam.
- Each excluded person can file an appeal in Foreigners Tribunals.
- The appellant then has the option of approaching the High Court and Supreme Court.
- The foreigners tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies, unique to Assam, to determine if a person staying illegally is a “foreigner” or not.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.
- Earlier, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.
- The NRC was published two years back, however, the Registrar General of India is yet to notify it. At the same time, the Supreme Court has not heard the matter since January 6, 2020. The Assam government too has failed to accept the NRC and wants the list amended.
Why in News?
- Lakhs of people living in Assam, who had their names registered in the National Register of Citizens in 2019, have not received their Aadhaar numbers yet. As a result, they are unable to avail of the benefits that come with linking bank accounts with Aadhaar number.
- In August 2019, 27 lakh people provided their biometrics, but around 19 lakh of them did not find their names in the NRC. Several of those who got registered in the NRC too have failed to get Aadhaar so far.
- The problem exists because of confusions that prevail in the NRC exercise.
Registrar General of India
- The office of Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India was founded in 1961 by the Ministry of Home Affairs for arranging, conducting and analysing the results of the demographic surveys of India, including census and linguistic survey.