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Enact security regime for National Register of Citizens data, orders Supreme Court

A file photo of people waiting to check their names on the final draft of the National Register of Citizens at a Seva Kendra in Morigaon.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) authorities to enact a security regime akin to the Aadhaar data protection before making the information on exclusions and inclusions in the NRC list available to the Centre, Government of Assam and the Registrar General of India.

The order came after State NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela raised concerns in court about the security of the sensitive data.

“We direct that an appropriate regime be enacted on lines similar to the security regime provided for AADHAR data. Only thereafter, the list of inclusions and exclusions shall be made available to the State Government, Central Government and Registrar General of India,” a Special Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton Nariman ordered.

The Bench had, in the previous hearing, clarified that it would not delve into Mr. Hajela’s references to the leakage of NRC information in the Assam Assembly and certain statements made by Debabrata Saikia, Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, and Santanu Bharali, legal advisor to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

Only online

The 21-page order pronounced on Tuesday directed that only hard copies of the supplementary list of inclusions be published at the NRC Seva centres, circle offices and offices of the District Magistrates of the State. “We also direct that the list of exclusions to be published on August 31, 2019 shall be published only online and shall be family-wise,” the court ordered.

It said orders under Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act should be challenged in the Guwahati High Court.

The court agreed with the suggestion made by Mr. Hajela in his July report that people born before December 3, 2004 may be included in the NRC if the parent through whom legacy is drawn is not a declared foreigner (DF) or D Voter (DV) or whose case of nationality is pending before a foreigner tribunal (PFT). Such persons can be included in the NRC even if the other parent is a DF or PFT.

However, on the other hand, persons born on or after December 3, 2004 would not be included in NRC even if any of the parent is DV or DF or PFT. That is, those born on or after December 3, 2004 would not find a place in the NRC even if the parent from whom legacy is drawn is clear from all angles. The court said this distinction is in tune with the provisions of Section 3(1)(b) & (c) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and a Supreme Court order of July 2 last year.

Clarification soon

During the hearing, the Bench was informed that provisions under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act had been applied for considering the individuals under the NRC. The top court had then said it would pass an order clarifying whether the inclusion of people under NRC would be based on section 3(1)(a), 3(1)(b) and section 3(1)(c) of the Act.

Section 3(1)(b) says every person born in India on or after July 1, 1987, but before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003 and either of whose parents is a citizen of India at the time of his birth shall be a citizen of India by birth. Section 3(1)(c) provides that a person is a citizen by birth if born on or after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003, and both of the parents are citizens of India or one of whose parents is a citizen of India and the other is not an illegal migrant at the time of his birth.

On July 23, the supreme court had extended the deadline for publication of the final NRC in Assam by a month to August 31.


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Printable version | Oct 13, 2021 8:09:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/assam-nrc-sc-orders-list-of-exclusion-be-published-only-online-on-aug-31/article29045534.ece

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