PIL plea in HC over CAA, NPR

‘No mention of where the data collected would be stored’

A public interest litigation (PIL) plea seeking to declare Section 14A of the Citizenship Act-1955, which empowers Central government to register its citizens and issue them national identity cards, as invalid was filed in Telangana High Court.

Two citizens (a social activist and a lawyer), who filed the plea, also requested the HC to quash the notification issued by the Centre to prepare and update National Population Register (NPR). The petitioners contended that the Citizenship Act-1955 originally did not mention anything about NPR.

There are no provisions relating to the National Register of Indian Citizens in the Citizenship Act at the time of passing the 2003 Citizenship Rules. It was only after incorporating Section 14A in the Citizenship Act through an amendment on December 3, 2004, the Central government was empowered to issue national identity cards and National Register of Indian Citizens, the petitioners stated.

According to them, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on January 7 instructed all census officers to ask questions like main source of drinking water of a house/family and predominant material of floor, wall and roof of the house. The petitioners contended that such questions were different from those asked while updating NPR.

The details of Aadhaar card, mobile phone number and driving licence number being sought during the NPR are connected to the privacy of a citizen. But the NPR manual or the Citizenship Rules 2003 did not guarantee of a system that would protect the data relating to privacy of citizens. There was no mention anywhere of where the data collected would be stored, the PIL petition said.

The petitioners said that enumeration of citizens is different from identification of citizens. The power of identification of citizens cannot be left to the subjective satisfaction of administrative officers, the petitioners stated.

According to them, no procedure or mechanism to be followed for verification or scrutiny of details presented by people was suggested. There is no accountability of the enumerators in case if they enter wrong information, the petition said.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 4:58:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/pil-plea-in-hc-over-caa-npr/article30831381.ece

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