The officer behind ‘doubtful’ voter detection dead
A retired IPS officer whose drive to weed out “illegal immigrants” from the voters’ list led to the Assam agitation of 1979 to 1985 passed away.
D- the voter is the acronym used for ‘doubtful voter’. Those persons whose citizenship was doubtful or was under dispute were categorized as ‘D- Voters’ during the preparation of the National Register of Citizens in Assam.
- However, ‘doubtful voter’ or ‘doubtful citizenship’ have not been defined in the Citizenship Act, 1955 or the Citizenship Rules of 2003. The Citizenship Rules, 2003 was framed under the provisions of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003. The rules framed in 2003 list out the steps to be followed for the preparation of the National Population Register (NPR) and the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC). Under subsection 4 of section 4 that deals with the preparation of NRIC, it has been only mentioned that details of individuals whose citizenship is doubtful will be entered by the Local Registrar with ‘appropriate remark in the population register for further inquiry’.
- Once a family or an individual is marked as a doubtful citizen (D-Category), they are then informed in a specified pro forma as soon as the verification process comes to an end.
- They are also given a chance to be heard by the Sub-district or Taluk Registrar of Citizen Registration before arriving at a final decision on whether their name will be included in the register. The Registrar has the time of 90 days to finalize his findings and justify them.
Future of D-voters:
- Doubtful voters are not eligible to cast their vote in elections as their Indian citizenship is not confirmed. They are also barred from contesting elections in the country.
- The marking as a doubtful voter is a temporary measure and cannot be prolonged. A decision in a definite period of time must be taken. If the person is found to be an illegal migrant or a foreigner, they are sent to detention camps and deported depending on the documents presented.
- There are six detention centers in Assam with a capacity to hold more than 3300 persons.
- D- Voters also have the option to apply and get their names included in NRC. They will be included only after they get clearance from the Foreigners Tribunals and their names are removed from electoral rolls under the ‘D’ category.
Source: The Hindu