Clarifying their stance on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union minister of law and justice, has stated that “proper legal process” will be followed for implementation of a nation-wide NRC.
“The state governments will be consulted and ‘some’ data collected for the National Population Register (NPR) ‘may or may not be used’ for the NRC,” he added.
Clarifying that CAA, NRC, and NPR are not interconnected and should not be an issue of concern, in an interview with The Sunday Express, the Union law minister said that the Parliament has the ultimate power to make laws. CAA is in compliance with Article 14 of the Constitution, he added.
Prasad claimed that the CAA was not related to Indians at all and that it neither takes away nor provides citizenship to anyone including Muslims.
“It (CAA) neither gives citizenship to anyone nor takes away from anyone, including Muslims. These persecuted groups because of the faith form a reasonable group by themselves and this reasonable classification has a nexus with the object of the law. It is in complete compliance with Article 14,” he said.
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Defending BJP’s stand to provide citizenship to non-Muslims, Prasad asked why no such questions were asked when the Congress government under the then prime minister Indira Gandhi granted citizenship to “only Hindus ousted by Idi Amin in Uganda.
“She also gave citizenship to people persecuted by people from East Pakistan. Rajiv Gandhi gave citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamils,” he said.
Stressing the need for NRC and NPR, Prasad said the entire legal process will be followed while implementing it.
“We need to understand that the Census has constitutional sanctity. There is a need for NPR because Census details (of individuals) cannot be made public to any authority. However, NPR is needed for delivery of welfare schemes,” he said.
On the kind of documents that will be sought by the government for the NRC, Prasad said that there will be a proper public declaration when the documentation process starts.
“Nothing will be a secret on the NRC. If anything is to be done, it will be done publicly,” The Indian Express quoted Prasad as saying.