Context:

The Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) authority has approached the Supreme Court seeking a comprehensive and time-bound re-verification of the citizens’ list, highlighting “major irregularities” in the process.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Citizenship, Government Initiatives and Schemes)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is National Register of Citizens (NRC)?
  2. NRC in Assam
  3. About the recent developments in implementation of NRC in Assam

What is National Register of Citizens (NRC)?

  • National Register of Citizens, 1951 is a register prepared after the conduct of the Census of 1951 in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in a serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of persons staying therein.
  • The NRC was published only once in 1951.

NRC in Assam

  • The issue of its update assumed importance as Assam witnessed large-scale illegal migration from erstwhile East Pakistan and, after 1971, from present-day Bangladesh.
  • This led to the six-year-long Assam movement from 1979 to 1985, for deporting illegal migrants.
  • The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) led the movement that demanded the updating of the NRC and the deportation of all illegal migrants who had entered Assam after 1951.
  • The movement culminated in the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985.
  • It set March 25, 1971, as the cut-off date for the deportation of illegal migrants.
  • Since the cut-off date prescribed under articles 5 and 6 of the Constitution was July 19, 1949 – to give force to the new date, an amendment was made to the Citizenship Act, 1955, and a new section was introduced.
  • It was made applicable only to Assam.
  • There had been intermittent demands from AASU and other organisations in Assam for updating the NRC, an Assam based NGO filed a petition at the Supreme Court.
  • In December 2014, a division bench of the apex court ordered that the NRC be updated in a time-bound manner.
  • The NRC of 1951 and the Electoral Roll of 1971 (up to midnight of 24 March 1971) are together called Legacy Data. Persons and their descendants whose names appeared in these documents are certified as Indian citizens.

About the recent developments in implementation of NRC in Assam

  • The exercise was a culmination of the Assam Accord of 1985 signed between the Centre and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) for detection, disenfranchisement and deportation of foreigners.
  • In the letter, the joint director asked the Assam government to assess the software used for managing the register and discontinue the ones not required.
  • The Assam government has rejected the NRC in its current form and demanded re-verification of 30% names included in the NRC in areas bordering Bangladesh and 10% in remaining State.

-Source: The Hindu

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