21, Dec 2019 | CJP Team
What is the National Population Register (NPR)?
NPR is a National Population Register. In 2003, The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 were passed under the Citizenship Act. These are the NRC Rules. Under this, the Central Government may carry throughout the country a house to house enumeration for determining citizenship status.
How will NPR be carried out?
NPR will be carried out via door to door survey
When will NPR be carried out?
NPR will be updated along with the House-listing phase of Census 2021. According to a gazetted notification, the process for this will commence from April 1, 2020 will be concluded in September 30, 2020 in all the States/UTs except Assam.
Is it mandatory to register in the NPR?
Yes. The government has made it mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
Who is a “usual resident”?
A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
How will the process begin?
Once the house to house enumeration of citizens has begun, (between April – September 2020), citizens are required to engage in the process. Under the 2003 Rules, the sub-district or taluk Registrar shall finalise his findings within 90 days of the remark being made.
What are people expected to do during the NPR listing process?
The draft of the local register shall be published for inviting any objection or for inclusion of any name. Within 30 days individuals have to complain or raise objection spelling out the nature and reasons for such complaint. These complaints will be considered by sub-district or taluk Registrar and will be summarily disposed of in 90 days.
Can one appeal against the Registrar’s order?
Yes. A person aggrieved by the above orders can appeal in 30 days to District Registrar of citizenship registration. The District Registrar shall take final decision after hearing the party within 90 days.
What will the government do with the list of citizens?
After this the NPR will be published as a National Register of Citizens (NRC) and every citizen will be issued national identity cards.
Does the NPR have any relation with NRC?
Yes, as per the preparation methodology prescribed in Citizenship (Registration of Citizen & Issue of NC) Rules 2003, it is from the NPR that data will be taken for Updation in the Local Register of Indian Citizen (i.e. part of NRC) after Scrutiny and Verification.
The government is yet to finalise the modalities of NPR-NRC and hence some pertinent and crucial questions like what is the cut-off date and what documents are valid for proving citizenship cannot be answered until rules are formulated to that regard.
Is the NPR 2010 under the UPA II Govt the same as the one proposed now under the Modi 2.0 Regime?
Will there be Foreigners Tribunals like in Assam to determine contested citizenship?
There is no role of Foreigners Tribunal at least as the law stands today. However the central government has issued one more notification extending Foreigners Tribunals to all over India. On September 30, 2019, through another Notification (G.S.R. 623(E), the GOI amended the 1964 Orders related to Foreigners Tribunals and extended these to all over India.
What if your name does not appear in the final register/list?
If you are not registered as a citizen you will be treated as foreigner and all consequences would follow. These would include being sent to detention camps, being deported, etc.
How much will NPR cost the exchequer?
According to the government’s official answer in the Lok Sabha (winter session 2019), Rs. 3941.35 crore will be spent on updating the National Population Register (NPR) and Rs. 8754.23 crore for conducting the Census 2021.
What is the legal basis for the NPR?
On July 31, 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an Order (SO 2753) in pursuance of Rule 3(4) of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, under the Citizenship Act, 1955, under which the “Government decides to prepare and update the Population Register (NPR).”
Is the MHA Gazette notification of July 31, 2019, therefore the start of the Implementation of an all India NRC?
The Preparation of NRC has been specified (as mentioned above) in Rule 4 of Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. The initiation of NRC is specified in Rule 6 of these Citizenship Rules. So far, specifications under Rule 6 have not been issued. However, since the preparation of National Population Register is the required basis for an All India NRC, and given widespread statements by politically influential functionaries, it would be prudent to understand that the present dispensation is laying the basis for the preparation of an all India NRC.
Is there more information on NPR?
An archived website of the government states that creation of the National Population Register (NPR) is the first step towards preparation of the NRIC.
Then, what is NPR really?
While similar to a Census that is conducted under the Census Act to determine population figures, trends and so on, the NPR is a Register of Citizenship. Criteria for inclusion and exclusion therefore, have to follow the law as laid down under the Citizenship Act.
The FAQs on the Citizenship Laws in India may be read here.
The FAQs on the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 may be read here.
(Feature Image Credit – Free Press Journal)