CAA Implemented in India: Notification Released; Non-Muslim Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Afghan Refugees to Receive Citizenship

The Central Government has issued a notification regarding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced a notification. Nearly five years have passed since the CAA was introduced by Parliament. Now, before announcing the dates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Central Government has implemented the CAA in the country. The Citizenship Amendment Act is aimed at granting citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. This paves the way for them to acquire citizenship under the Citizenship Amendment Act in Hindi.

Amendment to Citizenship Law by Central Government in 2019

In 2019, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the Central Government made amendments to the citizenship law. Under these amendments, implemented before December 31, 2014, individuals from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh belonging to six minority communities (Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, and Parsi) were granted Indian citizenship. The authority to grant citizenship lies with the Central Government as per the regulations.

Extension Being Considered Since 2020

As per parliamentary procedures, any rules of legislation should be prepared within the President’s approval within 6 months. If not, demands for extension should be made from parliamentary standing committees in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. In the context of CAA, since 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs has been seeking regular extensions from parliamentary committees to formulate regulations.

Granting Citizenship in 9 States

In the last two years, new districts’ magistrates and home secretaries from 30 or more states have been empowered to grant citizenship under the Citizenship Act of 1955 to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. According to the annual report of the Ministry of Home Affairs for 2021-22, from April 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, a total of 1,414 foreigners from these non-Muslim minority communities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan were granted Indian citizenship. This citizenship has been extended in 9 states, namely Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Maharashtra.

Introduction of Bills in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in 2019

On December 11, 2019, the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 (CAB) was introduced in the Rajya Sabha, receiving 125 votes in favor and 99 against. It received the President’s approval on December 12, 2019. After significant opposition nationwide and deliberations in both houses, the bill took its legislative form. On December 9, Home Minister Amit Shah introduced it in the Lok sabha.

Amendments in 1955 Laws

The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 (CAA) was introduced in 2016, leading to several amendments in the 1955 laws. These amendments aimed to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from neighboring Muslim-majority countries Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The bill was submitted to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on August 12, 2016, and the committee presented its report on January 7, 2019.

During the protests against the bill, clashes erupted in many areas, resulting in the loss of lives of more than 50 people. The bill had been contentious even before it was introduced in the Lok Sabha, but opposition to it intensified after the law was enacted. There were demonstrations in various parts of Delhi. On the night of February 23, 2020, violence broke out at the Jaffrabad metro station after a crowd gathered there.

Niyati Rao

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