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Supreme Court asks government to respond to plea challenging NPR updation

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The NPR exercise is scheduled to commence from April 2020. Rule 4 of Citizenship Rules provides for data collected for NPR to be used for National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to respond to a petition to declare a Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ notification of July 31, 2019 to update the National Population Register (NPR) as unconstitutional and violative of the fundamental rights of dignity and equality

The NPR exercise is scheduled to commence from April 2020. Rule 4 of Citizenship Rules provides for data collected for NPR to be used for National Register of Citizens (NRC).

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde issued notice to the Centre on a petition filed by 20 residents from across West Bengal led by Israrul Hoque Mondal, represented by Supreme Court advocate M.R. Shamshad.

The petition also challenges the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which fast-tracks the grant of citizenship process to all illegal migrants who have fled religious persecution from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh except Muslims.

The petition, which contended that grant of citizenship on the basis of religion was against the Basic Structure of the Constitution, would be listed on January 22 along with over 60 other petitions challenging the CAA.

This petition comes shortly after another one was filed by NGO Minority Front, which questioned the need to prepare an NPR if the government, as it claimed, had taken a policy decision to abort the nationwide NRC exercise. The plea highlighted the Prime Minister's speech on December 22 in this regard.

“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 24.12.2019), the preparation of the Population Register is nothing but a waste of time, energy and valuable resources of the nation,” the plea said.

Minority Front had quoted media reports to argue that the NPR exercise would cost the exchequer ₹ 3,941.35 crore and continue till September 2020.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 12:31:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-asks-government-to-respond-to-plea-challenging-npr-updation/article30585661.ece

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