NPR: Citizenship Rules give no legal backing to new questions

New Delhi: National Population Register (NPR) 2020 exercise is scheduled to be held between 1st April and 30th September this year. Enumerators will ask a set of questions to collect the data of the residents.

NPR in Citizenship Rules 2003

It may be mentioned that the Citizenship Rules 2003 is the legal framework for the NPR exercise. In the rules, the list of particulars that can be collected from the residents has been included. The list is as follow:

  1. Name
  2. Father’s name
  3. Mother’s name
  4. Sex
  5. Date of birth
  6. Place of birth
  7. Residential address (present and permanent)
  8. Marital status – if ever married, name of the spouse
  9. Visible identification mark
  10. Date of registration of Citizen
  11. Serial number of registration
  12. National Identity Number
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New questions in NPR 2020

It is nowhere mentioned that during the exercise, the enumerators of NPR can ask details such as date and place of birth of parents, Aadhaar Card number, passport number, mobile number, Driving license number, voter ID card number, mother tongue, etc.

The inclusion of these questions in NPR 2020 raises an apprehension that the data collected would be used for NRC.

Citizenship by birth

Many experts have pointed out NPR is nothing but the foundation for NRC as Citizenship law states that a person is a citizen by birth if he/she satisfies one of the three conditions

  1. Born in India before 1st July 1987.
    1. Born in India on or after 1st July 1987 and before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2003 and
    2. Either of the parents is a citizen of India at the time of birth.
    1. Born in India after the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2003 and
    2. Both the parents are citizens of India or one of the parents is a citizen and the other is not an illegal immigrant.
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On the one hand, inclusion of such questions created confusion, on the other, officials give contradictory statements. Some claim that the details are optional while others say that it is mandatory for the resident to provide all details.

The NPR exercise which was conducted in 2010 does not include such questions. However, it is being included in the 2020 NPR.

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