Dear Fellow Citizens of India,
Over the past few weeks, many of you have been understandably agitated over the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 ("CAA"). Your fears have been compounded by the contradictory and confusing statements made by spokespersons of the Government of India on the implementation of the National Register of Indian Citizens ("NRIC"), Though that government now seeks to delink the National Population Register (“NPR”) from the NRIC, we, the Constitutional Conduct Group, comprising former civil servants from the All-India and Central Services committed to the Constitution of India, consider it our duty to inform you that the three issues are linked, acquaint you with the facts regarding the NPR, NRIC and the CAA and emphasise why these measures need to be resolutely opposed. For easy comprehension, we are listing the issues pointwise:
There is no need for the NPR and NRIC
Both the NPR and NRIC exercises flow out of the amendments in 2003 to the Citizenship Act, 1955 (“1955 Act”) and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 ("2003 Rules") framed by the then NDA government in 2003. The NPR has nothing to do with the Census of India, which is conducted every ten years and is next due in 2021. While the Census collects information about all residents of India without listing their names, the NPR is a list of names of all those who have lived in India for over six months, regardless of their nationality. A Population Register will contain the list of persons usually residing within a specified local area (village/town/ward/demarcated area).