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Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced the notification of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) Rules, 2024, paving the way for implementing the legislation passed by the Parliament in December 2019.

Key Points:

  • This notification establishes the procedures for eligible individuals from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, and Christian communities, to apply for Indian citizenship.
  • The CAA offers a pathway to citizenship for those facing religious persecution in the mentioned countries and who entered India before December 31, 2014.
  • The announcement comes amidst ongoing debates surrounding the Act, with concerns raised regarding its potential discriminatory nature.

Reactions:

  • Proponents of the CAA view it as a humanitarian measure offering refuge to persecuted minorities.
  • Critics argue that the Act excludes Muslim minorities seeking asylum, raising questions about its adherence to the principle of equality enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

Further Developments:

  • The online portal for application submission is expected to be launched soon, enabling individuals to formally initiate the citizenship process.
  • The coming months will be crucial in observing the Act’s implementation and its impact on the targeted communities.

Extract of the Order is as follows:

MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

ORDER

New Delhi, the 11th March, 2024

S.O. 1231(E).— In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 6B of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955) read with sub-rules (1) and (3) of rule 11A of the Citizenship Rules, 2009, the Central Government hereby specifies the following, namely:-

(i) For the purposes of sub-rule (1) of rule 11A and rule 13A of the Citizenship Rules, 2009, there shall be an Empowered Committee in the States or Union Territories, which shall be headed by the Director (Census Operations) of the State or Union Territory concerned and shall consist of following officers as members, namely: –

(a) an officer in the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau not below the rank of Deputy Secretary to the Government of India;

(b) jurisdictional Foreigners Regional Registration Officer concerned;

(c) the State Informatics Officer of National Informatics Centre of the State or Union Territory concerned; and

(d) Post Master General of the State or Union Territory concerned or a Postal Officer nominated by the Post Master General not below the rank of Deputy Secretary to the Government of India;

(ii) the following officers shall be invitees of the Empowered Committee, namely: –

(a) a representative from the office of Principal Secretary (Home) or Additional Chief Secretary (Home) of the State Government or Union Territory concerned; and

(b) a representative of jurisdictional Divisional Railway Manager of Railways;

(iii) for the purposes of sub-rule (3) of rule 11A and sub-rule (3) of rule 38 of the Citizenship Rules, 2009, there shall be a District Level Committee which shall be headed by the jurisdictional Senior Superintendent or Superintendent of Post who shall be the Designated Officer; and shall consist of the following as members, namely:-

(a) District Informatics Officer or District Informatics Assistant of the District concerned; and

(b) nominee of the Central Government;

(iv) the following officers shall be invitees of the District Level Committee, namely: –

(a) a representative not below the rank of Naib Tehsildar or equivalent from the Office of District Collector; and

(b) jurisdictional Station Master of Railways (subject to availability).

(v) Quorum of each of the above Committees shall be two, including the chair.

2. Grant of citizenship by registration or naturalisation under section 6B of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955) by the Empowered Committee shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Citizenship Rules, 2009 (hereinafter referred to as the said rules) subject to the following conditions, namely: –

(A) the application for registration as a citizen of India or grant of certificate of naturalisation as citizen of India under the said rules is made by the applicant online;

(B) the verification of the documents submitted by the applicant is done by the District Level Committee as specified in clauses (iii), (iv) and (v) of first paragraph;

(C) the Designated Officer shall administer to the applicant the oath of allegiance as specified in the Second Schedule to the Citizenship Act, 1955 and thereafter, sign the oath of allegiance and forward the same in electronic form along with confirmation regarding verification of documents to the Empowered Committee;

(D) the Empowered Committee may make such inquiry as it considers necessary for ascertaining the suitability of the applicant, including obtaining report from the security agency;

(E) the report of the security agency referred to in clause (D) are uploaded online by such agency and accessible to the Empowered Committee;

(F) the Empowered Committee on being satisfied with the suitability of the applicant, may grant him the citizenship of India by registration or naturalisation, as the case may be, and issue a certificate of registration or naturalisation, as the case may be, in the Form as prescribed in the said rules;

(G) the Certificate of Registration under sub-rule (2A) of rule 14 and Certificate of Naturalisation under sub-rule (1A) of rule 15 shall be digitally signed or signed by the Chairman of Empowered Committee; and

(H) the Empowered Committee shall maintain a register in accordance with the said rules (as per online format), containing the details of persons so registered or naturalised as a citizen of India, which shall be accessible to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Security Agency.

3. This Order shall come in to force from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

[F. No. 26011/01/2015-IC-I(Part)]

B. C. JOSHI, Jt. Secy.

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