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NGO files plea on the need for NPR

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It cites Prime Minister’s speech denying NRC

A petition filed in the Supreme Court on Monday questioned the need for preparing the National Population Register (NPR) if the government has decided to abort the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise.

“When the Central government has already taken a policy decision to not go ahead with the NRC (as mentioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India in his speech dated December 22, 2019 and as per the stand of the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs — as per the media reports dated December 24, 2019), the preparation of the Population Register is nothing but a waste of time, energy and valuable resources of the nation,” Minority Front, an NGO, submitted in the court.

Besides, the NPR, according to media reports, would cost the exchequer ₹3,941.35 crore. It would be prepared within the period of April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020.

“In the present economic scenario, where there has been a sharp slowdown in economic growth, the entire sum sanctioned for preparation of the NPR will go down the drain as the government is not planning to prepare a nationwide NRC,” the petition said.

The NGO, quoted provisions from the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, which clearly point out that NPR is the first step towards conducting the NRC, and both are intrinsically linked. These Rules provide for preparation of NRC and for issuance of a National Identity Card to those persons whose names have been entered in the NRC. Rule 4 of the 2003 Rules mandate that the NRC would be based on the Population Register.

“It is therefore clear that the preparation of the population register is not only the first step but a pre-condition for the preparation of the NRC. It is on the basis of the data collected for the NPR that doubtful citizens are identified,” the petition, filed through advocate Ejaz Maqbool, submitted.

Further, the fact that the Population Register is prepared only to aid in the exercise of preparation of the final NRC is evident from the text of the NPR notification, which excludes Assam from its purview. The NRC exercise has already concluded in Assam, the petition said.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 10:36:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ngo-files-plea-on-the-need-for-npr/article30561005.ece

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