- 07/27/2019 at 9:58 pm #1526496EduGorillaKeymasterSelect Question Language :
Direction: Read the given passage carefully and answer the questions that follow.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which has met with fierce resistance in the north-eastern states, especially Assam, is likely to be shelved by the union government and not introduced in this session of Parliament. The bill declares Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan as not being “illegal migrants” for the purposes of the Citizenship Act, 1955, and also reduces the time required for such persons from these countries to obtain citizenship by naturalisation from 11 years to six years. The agitation, though, had nothing to do with the exclusion of Muslims from the provisions of this bill. Rather, it had to do with the grant of any exemption or benefit in favour of anyone (illegal migrants) from Bangladesh who might benefit from its provisions. The agitation over the bill has divided Assam itself. They seem to have raised ethnic and communal tensions in a region that has seen much violence and bloodshed along these lines. What the events surrounding the bill suggest is that the region remains a tinderbox of competing communal considerations waiting to explode.
For better or for worse, the Supreme Court has decided that it will judicially oversee the process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is supposed to help identify Indian citizens residing in Assam in accordance with the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Assam Accord. The litigation, which began in 2009 as a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by “Assam Public Works,” has, since December 2014, morphed into a court-monitored process of creating a draft NRC that is trying to verify how many of Assam’s 3.29 crore residents are legitimate citizens of the state and how many are “illegal migrants.”
The process has not been without its problems. A “first draft” published in December 2017 included only 1.9 crore names (less than 60% of the state’s population), but mass panic was averted on the promise that more names were to come. The procedure being adopted to decide whose claims are legitimate and whose claims are not has been dodgy, to say the least. From the non-transparent manner in which some of the procedures were approved, to allegations of bias against the presiding judge, there are many troubling questions that have arisen in the manner in which the process of preparing the NRC has unfolded. The final draft was supposed to be published on 30 June but now it is due to be published on 30 July 2018.
The best-case scenario, at this moment, would be for the Court to let the draft NRC come out in public. It should create an orderly mechanism for those aggrieved by exclusion to exhaust judicial remedies in accordance with law, without prejudicing their rights by prejudging any matter. There still remains the question as to what happens to those who are declared “illegal migrants” in accordance with the law after all judicial remedies are exhausted. There is, however, a grave risk that the Supreme Court, far from ensuring a fair and just process of preparing the NRC, ends up unleashing a tide of xenophobia and bigotry as the unintended consequences of the project. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill fiasco should serve as a warning to the Court that it is entering dangerous waters and it may have taken on a task it is not equipped to deal with.
The process of preparing the NRC was not devoid of problems. What are the problems that it faced?
I. The first draft includes names of 1.9 crores of people out of total 3.29 crore people in the state.
II. The final draft has been delayed.
III. The process of preparing the NRC is non-transparent.
IV. Only 60% of the state population is verified and rest are under verification.
V. A litany of allegations was made against the presiding judge questioning his ‘clinical decisions.’
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