SC seeks Centre's response on NRC for Tripura

SC seeks Centre's response on NRC for Tripura

After overseeing the process for updating the National Register for Citizens in Assam, the Supreme Court on Monday sought the Union government's response on a plea for a similar exercise to identify the illegal immigrants in Tripura, a state bordering Bangladesh.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph issued a notice to the Union government, the Ministry of External Affair, the Election Commission, the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India and others on a petition filed by Tripura People's Front and others.

In their plea, the petitioners contended Tripura is in worse condition. “The uncontrolled influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh to Tripura has caused huge demographic changes in Tripura which earlier was a predominantly tribal state. The indigenous people who were once the majority have now become a minority in their own land,” they said.

The petitioners also submitted it was necessary to update the NRC in Tripura and also to detect and identify the illegal immigrants/non-citizens of India and deport them so that the socio-economic, socio-political and socio-cultural equilibrium was restored.

“The total inaction in this regard have resulted in the violation of the petitioner's fundamental rights under Article 14, 15,19,21 and 29 of the Constitution,” it contended.

The petitioners sought direction to update the National Register of Citizens with respect to Tripura in terms of Rules 3 and 4 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 by taking July 19, 1948, as the cut-off date as provided for in Article 6 of the Constitution.

They maintained a total population of 36.73 lakh of the state as per 2011 census, the number of tribal people has been reduced by 31.78% as against the non-tribal of 68.22%.

“The influx of illegal migrants into Tripura constitutes "external aggression" as provided for under Article 355 of the Constitution. And the Union government is bound to protect the state from such external aggressions. The presence of illegal immigrants violates Articles 325 and 326 of the Constitution of India in that it has diluted the political rights of the citizens of the state of Tripura,” the petitioners claimed.

The petitioners claimed the political patronage extended to illegal migrants helped successive streams of migrants to cross the border easily, find shelter and jobs in India, and finally settle down permanently. This has resulted into the border areas, especially in Tripura, West Bengal and Assam, which once had a mixed composition of the population, that is, both Hindus and Muslims cohabited, gave way to new settlements based on exclusively religious identities, they added.