Exclusion from draft Assam NRC will not affect voting rights for Lok Sabha polls: EC to SC

• The Election Commission has informed the Supreme Court that names have not been deleted from the voters’ list in Assam on the basis of exclusion from the Draft National Register of Citizens (NRC).

• EC’s response comes in the backdrop of a petition alleged that several categories of persons in Assam had been denied voting rights ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The SC had ordered Election Commission Secretary to appear before it on March 12.

Key highlights

• The SC has raised concerns about those who would not appear in the final NRC but have been included in the electoral roll. It has further directed the EC to provide the data by March 28 about addition and deletion of names in the revised voters’ list published in the month of January in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

• The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a register which contains the name of all citizens of India residing in Assam. It was prepared in 1951.

• The process of NRC update in Assam has been taken up as per a Supreme Court order in 2013. The update is being carried out under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord, 1985.

About Assam Accord

• Assam Accord is a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement- a movement against illegal immigrants in Assam.

• Under the Accord, foreigners were to be divided into three categories:

• a) Those who came to Assam before 1.1.1966 (to be treated as full-fledged citizens);

• b) Those who came between 1.1.1966 and 24.3.1971 (to be denied voting rights for 10 years);

• c) Those who came to Assam on or after 25.3.1971 (to be deported).

• Subsequently, the Citizenship Act, 1955 was amended in 1985 to incorporate Section 6A. This section fixes March 25, 1971 as the cut-off date for granting citizenship to Bangladeshi migrants in Assam.

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