Gangtok: On October 1, the Registration of Birth and Death Amendment Act 2023 will come into effect, serving as a single legal document for various purposes, including admission to educational institutions, issuance of driving licenses, obtaining state and central government jobs, Aadhaar Cards, and voter enrollment across the country.
However, this amended law is causing concerns regarding its impact on the existing laws of Sikkim, particularly under Article 371F, claimed political activist Passang Sherpa.
Addressing the media on Monday, representing Sikkim Nagrik Samaj, Sherpa shared, “Since Sikkim already has Rule 4(4) in place under Article 371F, which allows government jobs to be given to only Certificate of Identification and Sikkim Subject document holders. Now since this birth certificate has become a nationwide law, it has the potential to harm Rule 4(4) in the long run. We are apprising the government and political parties in Sikkim, to come up with their views about this.”
Sherpa also mentioned that the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, clarified in the Indian Parliament that consultations were held with all state governments, and none of them objected to the amendment of the law.
Additionally, Sherpa highlighted the passing of the Finance Bill 2023, implementing Article 14 (Right to Equality) in Sikkim. He shared, “On that backdrop, this is a new challenge that has come to Sikkim and it’s old laws. For now, Rule 4(4) is a strong law, but in the future, any person born in Sikkim as per this law can have a claim at government recruitment in the state. We are to create awareness for the people of Sikkim.”
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Highlighting how the Registration of Birth and Death Act is part of the Concurrent list, meaning both the central and the state government can amend it. Sherpa asserted, “We have given the government 10 days time to come up with their views. If there is no response, we will be holding an all-party meeting, whereby we will adopt a resolution and send it to the central government. The state government can at least send a letter to the government of India, saying we already have Rule 4(4) in the state.”
In conclusion, while there are no objections to the law for purposes such as education and health benefits, concerns exist regarding its potential impact on issues like driving licenses and voter lists, explained Sherpa.
He remarked that there’s a growing sense that the influx is increasing daily, as more and more people are being added to the voter list, adding, “This will open the floodgates.”
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