Amid protests and violence over the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has now said that a “proper legal process” will be followed for a nation-wide NRC.
Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Indian Express that the Centre will also consult with state governments on NRC and “some” data collected for the National Population Register (NPR) “may or may not be used” for the NRC.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in an interview to ANI, had said that the NPR and NRC were governed by different laws and NPR data would never be used for the NRC exercise. “There is no connection between the two processes, nor can they be used in each other’s survey,” he said.
But now Union Law Minister told Indian Express that, “A position has to be taken. There is a legal process. First a decision, second a notification, then the process, the verification, the objection, the hearing of the objection, right of appeal. There will be a consultation with the state government, feedback will be taken. If anything is to be done, it will be done publicly. Nothing will be a secret on an NRC.”
Prasad also said that no decision has been taken on documents that would be acceptable for a nation-wide NRC. The Union Law Minister also defended Centre’s decision to initiate a fresh NPR. “The NRC is a different concept altogether… The Citizenship (Registration of Citizen and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, talk about the NPR… There is need for an NPR because Census details cannot be made public to any authority, but the NPR is required to frame policies for the delivery of welfare schemes,” Prasad told Indian Express.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 23 said there had been no discussion on a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) — two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi distanced his government from the exercise. “There is no need to debate this (pan-India NRC) as there is no discussion on it right now. PM Modi was right, there is no discussion on it yet either in the Cabinet or Parliament,” Amit Shah said in an interview with ANI.
The NPR was started by the UPA government and the NDA government was carrying it forward as it was a “good exercise”, the news agency quoted the Union Home Minister as saying. “NPR is register of population, NRC is register of citizens. There is no link between the two and the two have different processes,” he said.
According to him, the names of people living in the country are in NPR, based on which programmes are made. With West Bengal and Kerala having decided to put a stop to the NPR exercise, he said there should not be politics over this as it is aimed at helping citizens and for improving the planning of welfare schemes. “I will talk and appeal to them that no politics should be done on this,” he told ANI.
“NPR will not affect anyone’s nationality. Even if somebody’s name is missing from NPR, then too his citizenship will not be threatened,” Shah said in the interview.
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