A decision on nationwide rollout of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is yet to be taken, the government informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
“Till now, the government has not taken any decision to prepare the National Register of Indian citizens at the national level,” Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said in a written reply to a question.
Replying to another question, Rai said there is no provision of detention centres under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and the NRC.
He said the Supreme Court had said on February 28, 2012, that foreigners who had completed their sentence must be released from jail and kept in an appropriate place with restricted movement pending their deportation or repatriation.
A week later, on March 7, the ministry told states and UTs to comply with the SC’s directives orders, he said.
Rai said states and UTs set up centres as per their requirements to detain illegal immigrants and foreigners, some of whom may have completed their sentence.
The NRC is an official record that contains the names of all legal Indian citizens. The first NRC was prepared in 1951 and had not been updated until recently. Currently, a database is being maintained only for Assam.
Why was NRC carried out in Assam?
The Indo-Pak war of 1971 sent a huge wave of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh into the neighbouring Indian states, including Assam. This affected the composition of the local population of the state, resulting in the Assam agitation in 1979, which was marred several incidents of violence.
The agitation ended with the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985, which mentioned March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of illegal immigrants. In 2013, a writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court demanding deletion of illegal migrants’ names from the voters’ list in Assam, following which the top court ordered that the NRC be updated in the state.
When was the final NRC list released?
The final list of Assam NRC was released on August 31, 2019. Over 1.9 million applicants failed to make it to the list.