Thursday, May 9, 2024

Ads by Google

Ads by Google

HomeNewsCAA rules decoded: Criteria, clauses and procedures

CAA rules decoded: Criteria, clauses and procedures

NEW DELHI: The ministry of home affairs on Monday

notified

the Citizenship Amendment Rules. The rules will now facilitate minorities facing persecution on religious grounds in

Pakistan

,

Bangladesh

, and

Afghanistan

to obtain Indian citizenship.
The rule enables granting of citizenship to citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Christian, Buddhist & Parsi communities, who had migrated to India on (or)before December 31, 2014.

An online system for application, processing & grant of citizenship under CAA is being explored by home ministry.
The CAA was enacted in December 2019 and came into force on January 10, 2020. However, the Act could not be implemented as the rules were not notified. Enactment of the law drew criticism from a certain section and opposition parties, who dubbed the Act as discriminatory and sought for its rollback.

Indian citizenship will also be granted to the immigrant who has been living in India for at least five of the last 14 years or has lived in the country for the past one year. Under the act, for the specified class of illegal migrants, the government has relaxed the number of years of residency to five years, which marks a significant reduction from the previous requirement of 11 years for citizenship by naturalization.

After the government made the announcement, the reactions started to pour in from the opposition leaders, who accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Centre of resorting to ‘deviation’ and ‘publicity’ ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
CAA Rules official document

Eligibility: Who can apply for Citizenship

  • Application for grant of citizenship by registration or naturalisation shall not be entertained unless
  • An application from an individual of Indian origin seeking registration as a citizen of India.
  • An application from an individual married to a citizen of India, seeking registration as a citizen of India
  • An application from a minor child of an Indian citizen, seeking registration as a citizen of India.
  • An application from an individual whose parents are registered as citizens of India, seeking registration as a citizen of India.
  • An application from an individual who or either of their parents was a citizen of Independent India, seeking registration as a citizen of India.
  • An application from an individual who is registered as an Overseas Citizen of India Cardholder.

Document to be attached for Citizenship by naturalization

“The application for the grant of citizenship by naturalization, fulfilling the qualifications specified in the Third Schedule, is to be submitted using Form VIIIA. This form encompasses all necessary details and documentation required for the naturalization process.”

  • an affidavit verifying the correctness of the statements made in the application along with an affidavit from an Indian citizen testifying the character of the applicant; and
  • a declaration from the applicant that he has adequate knowledge of one of the languages as specified in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.

The rule specifically mentions that, “The applicant shall be considered to have adequate knowledge of the concerned language if he can speak or read or write that language..”
The application process for citizenship by naturalization, as outlined in Form VIIIA, requires the completion of several key steps and submission of specific documentation:

  1. Form VIIIA Submission: The applicant submits Form VIIIA, which includes all necessary personal details and information required for the naturalization process.
  2. Affidavit Verification: The applicant must provide an affidavit verifying the accuracy of the statements made in the application. This affidavit serves to ensure the truthfulness of the provided information.
  3. Character Affidavit: Additionally, the applicant must furnish an affidavit from an Indian citizen attesting to the applicant’s character. This affidavit acts as a testament to the applicant’s reputation and conduct.
  4. Language Declaration: The applicant is required to declare that they possess adequate knowledge of one of the languages specified in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. This declaration confirms the applicant’s linguistic proficiency, a crucial aspect of integration into Indian society.

Process for application submission

Under section 6B of the Citizenship Act, 1955, individuals seeking registration or naturalization must follow a specific application process:

  1. Submission of Application: Applications are to be submitted electronically by the applicant to the Empowered Committee through the District Level Committee designated by the Central Government.
  2. Acknowledgment: Upon submission, an acknowledgment in Form IX is electronically generated.
  3. Document Verification: The District Level Committee, led by a Designated Officer, verifies the documents submitted along with the application.
  4. Oath of Allegiance: The Designated Officer administers the oath of allegiance specified in the Second Schedule to the Citizenship Act, 1955, to the applicant. The signed oath, along with confirmation of document verification, is forwarded electronically to the Empowered Committee.
  5. Refusal Consideration: If an applicant fails to appear in person despite reasonable opportunities, the District Level Committee forwards the application to the Empowered Committee for consideration of refusal.

– Renunciation Declaration: Every application includes a declaration by the applicant renouncing their citizenship of their current country, irrevocably and without future claim.
– Required Documents: Each application must be accompanied by copies of documents specified in Schedule IA and IB, as well as an affidavit in the format specified in Schedule IC.
This process ensures that applicants fulfill necessary criteria and undertake legal obligations as part of their application for citizenship under section 6B of the Citizenship Act, 1955.

What is Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) is an act that was passed in the Parliament on December 11, 2019. The 2019 CAA amended the Citizenship Act of 1955 allowing Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities who fled from the neighboring Muslim majority countries of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 2014 due to “religious persecution or fear of

religious persecution

“. However, the Act excludes Muslims. Under CAA 2019 amendment, migrants who entered India by December 31, 2014, and had suffered “religious persecution or fear of religious persecution” in their country of origin, were made eligible for citizenship by the new law. These type of migrants will be granted fast track Indian citizenship in six years. The amendment also relaxed the residence requirement for naturalization of these migrants from eleven years to five.

Why people are protesting against CAA?

There have widespread protests across the country including the national capital region and northeastern states against the CAA amendment. The protest in Assam and other northeastern states turned violent over fears that the move will cause a loss of their “political rights, culture and land rights” and motivate further migration from Bangladesh. The agitators say that new amendment in Citizenship Act discriminates against Muslims and violates the right to equality enshrined in the Constitution of the country. Sects like Shias and Ahmedis also face persecution in Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan but are not included in the CAA. Questions were also raised on the exclusion of persecuted religious minorities from other regions such as Tibet, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.

What is the status of petitions filed challenging constitutional validity of CAA?

Several petitions have been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, including by RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi. Several other petitioners include Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, All Assam Students Union (AASU), Peace Party, CPI, NGOs ‘Rihai Manch’ and Citizens Against Hate, advocate M L Sharma, and law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act. The top court has issued notice to the Centre and sought its response by the second week of January on a batch of pleas challenging the CAA.