CJP moves SC to defend genuine Citizenship of people in Assam Petition raises key questions about definition of citizen, immigrant and impact on descedants

08, Aug 2019 | CJP Team

Even as the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is all set to be published by August 31, 2019, there are several concerns about people who have been left out of the coveted list. Now, CJP, determined to make sure that no genuine Indian citizen suffers, has moved Supreme Court asking for it to take a closer look at the idea of citizenship, the definition of illegal immigrant and also the wider concerns about decedents of people whose citizenship is under the scanner.

The petition draws special attention towards Sections 3 (Citizenship by Birth) and 6 (Citizenship by Naturalisation) which includes Section 6 (A) (that deals with Special provisions as to citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord) of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Over four million people have been left out of the NRC draft, most of them from socio-economically backward communities. Now CJP, drawing from its previous experience in providing legal aid in Gujarat, has stepped in with a multi-faceted team of lawyers and volunteers to ensure that these people receive a fair chance while filing claims across 18 of the worst affected districts. Your contribution can help cover the costs of a legal team, travel, documentation and technological expenses. Please donate generously here.

The petition says, “Section 3 deals with children, descendants, sons, daughters, etc. whereas Section 6A deals with ‘persons coming to Assam from specified territory’ (present day Bangladesh) and is silent about the children, spouses and other categories of related persons, coming from the “specified territory”. Thereby, children, descendants, sons, daughters, etc. of the persons covered by the Assam Accord shall, logically, fall within the ambit of Section 3(1). There is therefore, no inherent contradiction between Section 3 and Section 6A of the 1955 Act, and the two sections can be implemented in harmony. It is both essential and critical for this Hon’ble Court to consider this aspect of the 1955 Act in deciding on the question of citizenship.”

The petition also draws attention to Rule 4A of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, stating that it “is in conflict with the Act and thus should not be enforced while implementing the Act vis a vis Assam.”

CJP’s petition also highlights how thousands of people have been served re-verification notices despite the Supreme Court turning down the government’s request for reverification via an order passed on July 23, 2019. The petition says, “Another alarming fact that has come to the notice of the applicant is the fresh notices that are being served on many beleaguered and poor persons on the late evening of 3.08.2019 and 4.08.2019 directing them to appear for “reverification at NRC Seva Kendras” often at a distance of 400-500 kilometres away causing much distress and panic. The Applicants/Interveners would like to humbly state that these re-verification notices, in their thousands appear to contravene the specific order of this Hon’ble Court on 23.07.2019 declining the state’s prayer for such re- verification. That earlier too, this Hon’ble Court had directed that convenience of the persons to whom notices are served by NRC must be kept in mind to minimise panic and dislocation.”

The entire intervention application may be read here:

 

The SC will pass orders in the matter on Tuesday August 13.

Related:

SC rejects government’s appeal for re-verification, extends NRC deadline

Citizens for Assam: A Quest for Hope and Justice

Citizenship proof documents a sign of Conspiracy of Exclusion in Assam?

CJP Impact: Our appeals help ensure hearings and due process in Assam

 

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