The Modi led BJP government has introduced a proposal in the parliament about counting the citizens of India in the form of the national register of citizen (NRC).
In India, various constitutional amendments are introduced in the Loksabha and Rajyasabha so that the practicability of the constitution can be renewed according to the contemporary evolution in the population both in quality and in the quantity.
Earlier, after India got independence from the clutch of Britishers, the makers of the constitution proposed some parameters in the Indian constitution to describe who is the citizen of India and who can be granted Indian citizenship. Deciding the parameters for the citizenship charter was indeed a difficult task. the makers of the constitution knew that the parameters which were proving so apt in their contemporary times can be proved futile in the future. So, they always kept the door of evolution open in the Indian constitution by proposing amendments in the existing rules.
Since the constitution of India was applied in the country, the evolving minds of the population of India have proposed a number of amendments considering the present need of the population residing in India. So, in the citizenship act also, the rule has undergone many small or big amendments in its body till today from a very early age since its first inception on the Indian constitution.
This latest initiative from the government is aimed to count the actual citizens of the country and filter them from the non-citizens. Later, the unfiltered ones will be identified as non-citizens of India and their matter will be treated accordingly.
The earlier conducted exercise (NRC-1951) counted the residents rather than the citizens of the country.
The state of Assam under the supervision of the supreme court held the same exercise to count the citizen of the country in the state of Assam in the national register of citizen (NRC).
Office of the registrar general and census commissioner abide to upload the census of 2021 with the national population register next summer.
Challenges in the nationwide NRC
- Legal inconsistency: the implication of this exercise will create suspicion about the alienage in the minds of citizens. The exercise of NRC is incompatible with the present existing law as:
- Foreigners’ act, 1946: under this act, the person accused with the charge of being a foreigner has the burden to prove their citizenship but while in the NRC, the entire population of India required to claim and then prove their citizenship.
- Citizenship act, 1955: this act encounters with the acquisition and termination of Indian citizenship but it does not have any grounds any provision to recognize the aliens but the NRC exercise announces not- nationals of the country as the aliens.
- Illegal migrants act was shunted down by the supreme court in 2005. The court stated that the provisions claimed in this act are stringent and makes the detection and deportation of the illegal migrants impossible. But the NRC seems to repeat the shortcomings of the illegal migrants (determination by the tribunal) act.
- Lack of resources: collecting and maintaining data in huge quantity is indeed a different task. The cost included in the process and the hectic collection makes this exercise a challenging task.
- Social risks: NRC will give rise to the execution of the “paper citizenship” powered with the network of kinship. By the implementation of the NRC in the country, there would arise a risk of losing the citizenship of those innocent citizens of India who were not documented and the non-national migrants who have the documentation will gain the citizenship over them.
- Hereditary political drawbacks
Recognizing foreigners and securing the boundaries of the nation against illegal immigrants is necessary in order to address the challenges of internal security threats currently faced by the nation.