Home / North-east / Assam NGO in Supreme Court to unlock NRC biometrics

Assam NGO in Supreme Court to unlock NRC biometrics

According to the UIDAI, Aadhaar is a 12-digit random number issued by the authority to the residents of India after due verification
Supreme Court.
Supreme Court.
File photo

Umanand Jaiswal   |   Guwahati   |   Published 01.04.22, 01:39 AM

The Assam Public Works, the original petitioner in the Supreme Court that led to the update of the 1951 NRC in the state, moved the apex court on Tuesday requesting the unlocking of the biometrics of around 27 lakh individuals collected during the claims and objections process for inclusion in the citizenship register.

The Guwahati-based NGO’s president, Aabhijeet Sharma, and general secretary Dhrubajyoti Talukdar said on Wednesday that they had also prayed for a direction to the authorities to issue Aadhaar numbers to those whose biometrics were collected during the claims and objections process in 2018.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register of Indian citizens. The updated 1951 NRC, published on August 31, 2019, had left out 19,06,657 of the 3,30,27,661 applicants.

Biometric details of over 27 lakh applicants of the 40 lakh-plus left out of the draft NRC list were collected during the claims and objections exercise. The biometric data of the applicants, including the 19 lakh who figure in the final list, have been locked since 2018, due to which the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has not been able to generate their Aadhaar cards and they can’t apply for new Aadhaar enrolment, either, Sharma said.

According to the UIDAI, Aadhaar is a 12-digit random number issued by the authority to the residents of India after due verification. Those willing to enrol has to provide minimal demographic and biometric information during the enrolment process. “An individual needs to enrol for Aadhaar only once and after de-duplication only one Aadhaar shall be generated, as the uniqueness is achieved through the process of demographic and biometric de-duplication,” the UIDAI said.

“Since the state government is busy organising meetings instead of seeking redressal we decided to move the honourable court so that those left out get their Aadhaar number required to avail most government schemes, benefits and services and official work. Aadhaar number to 27 lakh persons can be issued only after their biometrics information taken during the NRC process are unlocked by the authorities. Aadhaar number is not an evidence of citizenship or domicile,” Sharma told The Telegraph.

Sharma said the process to issue Aadhaar cards had been put on hold because the RGI had not yet notified the final NRC as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) approved by the Supreme Court in 2018, which included collection of their biometrics during claims and objections process.

“Once the final NRC has been published such persons who are included in the NRC will be given the usual Aadhaar number as applicable to legal residents in the country, according to the SOP. That is why we have moved the court,” Sharma said.

The NRC exercise was carried out under the supervision of the apex court with March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date as stated in the 1985 Assam Accord for detection and deportation of illegal migrants, especially those from Bangladesh.

The APW affidavit comes in the wake of BJP-led state government’s announcement on Thursday that they will move the apex court to issue a direction to the Centre to issue Aadhaar cards to those left out of the NRC. The announcement was made after a meeting between the government and 27 organisations in Guwahati. 

Cabinet minister Atul Bora had said the 27 lakh also included people from the indigenous communities and have not been able to avail government free rice or housing schemes. Representatives of the 27 organisations were also in favour of providing Aadhaar cards to those left out as these were not evidence of citizenship.

Those left out of the NRC can appeal for inclusion in the foreigners tribunals with proper documents once they receive the rejection slips but this process has not yet started. The updated list is yet to be notified by the Registrar General of India.

The Supreme Court in an order on August 13, 2019, on maintenance of security of NRC data had directed “that an appropriate regime be enacted on lines similar to the security regime provided for Aadhaar data. Only thereafter, the list of inclusions and exclusions shall be made available to the state government, central government and Registrar General of India...,” the court had said, according to the affidavit filed by the APW. “They have not yet come up with the security regime,” Sharma said.

Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.