NEW DELHI, Nov 20 - Months after completion of the mammoth National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the drive will be conducted once again in Assam along with rest of the country.
Replying to a volley of questions on the NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Bill during a Question Hour debate in Rajya Sabha today, the Home Minister said the NRC exercise will be held all over the country and it will be held in Assam yet again.
�We had taken up NRC at the initiative of the Supreme Court under a different Act. The exercise will now be held countrywide. The NRC exercise will be conducted in Assam. He reiterated that people belonging to any religious group need not harbour any apprehension. There is provision in the NRC to include people and according to gazette notification the NRC is applicable all over the country,� Shah said.
Replying to a question on non-inclusion of names in the NRC and the possibility of the Centre waiving off the six-year period provision to grant citizenship, Shah clarified that the question is related to the CAB and not NRC, because such kind of provision cannot be part of the NRC.
�There is provision in the NRC to include names in the citizens register. But the government agrees that those who came as refugees belonging to different religious groups like Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Parsis and Christian should be granted citizenship and that is why the CAB is being brought so that these religious groups who have quit the countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan because of religious persecution are given shelter here,� he said.
Amid interruptions by opposition members, Congress MP Ripun Bora said that two months have passed since the publication of final list, yet the process for appeal has not been set in motion to hear the 19 lakh people who have been left out of the NRC.
�All those people, who have been excluded from the NRC, have a right to appeal. Tribunals will be set up in each district and for those who do not have money to approach the tribunals, the Assam government will bear the cost of hiring lawyers,� Shah said.
Shah said the preparation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) is governed by the provisions of Section 14A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. Section 14A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 provides for compulsory registration of every citizen of India and maintenance of NRIC. The procedure to prepare and maintain NRIC is specified in the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
Citizenship of India can be acquired as provided under the Citizenship Act, 1955. NRIC is a register containing details of Indian citizens. On its own, it does not provide citizenship to any foreigner, including illegal migrants. The NRIC in respect of Assam was recently prepared under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
Matters like detection of illegal immigrants and subsequent action are governed by the provisions of the Foreigners Act, 1946; the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920; and the Registration of Foreigners Act, 1939 and rules made thereunder.