Supreme Court tags Tripura NRC plea with Assam case

The Supreme Court issued a notice to the government on a public interest litigation to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Tripura, as is being done in Assam, in order to detect and deport the “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh.

A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi directed the court registry to tag the petition, filed by the Tripura People’s Front and some others, along with petitions in the Assam NRC case.

The petition asked the Supreme Court to direct the authorities to update the NRC 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.

The petition contended the “influx” of illegal immigrants into Tripura amounted to ‘external aggression’ under Article 355 of the Constitution. The Union is bound to protect the State from this, it said.

Uncontrolled influx of illegal migrants from Bangladesh to Tripura has caused huge demographic changes in Tripura… Tripura was a predominantly tribal State, but now it has become a non-tribal State… Indigenous people who were once the majority have now become a minority in their own land,” it claimed.

The petition submitted to the court that it was “very necessary to update the NRC in Tripura, detect and identify the illegal immigrants/non-citizens of India and deport them.”

The petitioner claimed that it had submitted memoranda to the President and Prime Minister of India in February 2018 but had not got any “favorable response in this regard till date.”

The petition arraigns the Union of India, Ministry of External Affairs, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, the Election Commission of India and the State of Tripura as respondents.

It would now be heard by a Special Bench monitoring the Assam NRC case. Chief Justice Gogoi heads it.

The deportation of illegal immigrants, the petition argued, is required to restore the “socio-economic, socio-political and socio-cultural equilibrium” of the State.

It argued that the petition has been filed in a ‘representative capacity’ of a majority of the indigenous people living in Tripura for enforcement of their fundamental rights. The exercise in Assam was necessitated due to the “persistent illegal influx problem that has plagued the State for over three decades now”, it said. The petition alleged Tripura is in a worse condition.

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