In two applications filed in the Supreme Court, the IUML also asked the court to get clarifications from the government whether it had plans to implement the National Register of Citizens, or NRC, across the country and if there was a link between the NRC and the population register.
The IUML request comes against the backdrop of the government’s new stand on the NRC and the NPR after protests broke out against the amended law that seeks to fast-track citizenship for non-Muslims entered India from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh before 2015.
Top government leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have insisted that there is no link between the new citizenship law, the register of citizens and the population register.
But the government’s critics including opposition parties have pulled out statements made by top ministers that have emphasised the link between the CAA, NRC and NPR.
The population register was launched by the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance in 2010 against the backdrop of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to create a biometric database of residents that can be accessed by the security establishment without too many restrictions.
UIDAI, the body that runs the Aadhaar programme, had made it clear that security agencies would not be able to dip into its database at will.
The government had then decided to create the population register as the first step towards building the citizens’ register and draws the powers to force people to give information about themselves under the Citizenship Act.
The new IUML applications are designed to put the government in a spot. It quotes statements made by several ministers in parliament where the population register was described as a precursor to the NRC.