Finally CAA lands on ground, Center issues notification

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After a gap of four years, since the ‘Citizenship Amendment Act’ (CAA) was passed by both the houses and approved by the President, it’s rules came into force in the country on Monday through a notification issued by Central government on Monday evening. A portal has also been prepared for this, through which people from non-Muslim migrant community will be able to apply for citizenship. The Union Home Ministry has made complete preparations for this. The law was passed by the Lok Sabha on December 9, 2019 while the same was passed in Rajya Sabha two days later. It received President’s nod on December 12, 2019.

Under CAA, applications for citizenship invited through online portal

Under CAA rules, applications for seeking Indian citizenship could be submitted online through a specially developed portal for the purpose. Non-Muslim immigrants including Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis from India’s three Muslim neighboring countries Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan could avail the facility.

Recently, the Union Home Ministry had received another extension from the Parliamentary Committee on Subordinate Legislation in Lok Sabha to frame rules for Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The earlier service extension period had ended on January 9. The Home Ministry was granted extension for the seventh time to prepare the rules of CAA. Earlier, the Home Ministry had also got an extension of 6 months from the Rajya Sabha to make and implement rules for the same.

Rules of CAA

This law will be applicable to those who came to India from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh on or before December 31, 2014. In this, the migrants will have to prove the period for which they have stayed in India. They will also have to prove that they had come to India due to religious persecution from their countries. They speak the languages which are included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. They will also have to fulfill the requirements of the Third Schedule of the Civil Code 1955. Only after this the migrants will be eligible to apply.

Earlier, to acquire Indian citizenship, a person was required to live in India for at least 11 years. This rule has been simplified under the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. The period for acquiring citizenship has been increased from 1 to 6 years.

Opposition raises question on timing of CAA implementation

With Center issuing notification for CAA on today, the opposition has started raising questions on the government’s timing of implementation of rules of CAA before the Lok Sabha elections in the country. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the Center for the same.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a tweet said that after ruling the country for ten years, Modi government has brought CAA before the elections. At a time when the poor and middle class are groaning due to inflation and unemployed youths were wandering from door to door in search of employment, instead of solving such issues, the government thought it fit to bring in CAA, he added.

Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin wrote on X (earlier Twitter), “Union BJP Government’s divisive agenda has weaponised the Citizenship Act, turning it from a beacon of humanity to a tool of discrimination based on religion and race through the enactment of #CAA. By betraying Muslims and Sri Lankan Tamils, they sowed seeds of division.”

Shortly after the notification was issued by Center, members of All Assam Student Union (AASU) burnt copies of the Act in the state. Also, the 16-party United Opposition Forum, Assam, (UOFA) has announced a statewide closure on Tuesday to protest against the same.

In the past

Earlier in 2019 onwards, passing of the bill had evoked sharp reactions from different political parties. At that time the Central government had decided to implement it, but due to Corona, CAA remained in limbo. Nearly 200 public interest litigations (PIL) were also filed in the Supreme Court regarding the same. However after a delay of nearly four years, the notification was issued by Center in this regard on Monday. Implementation of CAA is one of the poll promises in the Bharatiya Janata Party manifesto.

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