New Delhi, Jan 16 : The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) contains amendments to five major grounds mentioned in the Citizenship Act, 1955.
The CAA aims to provide Indian citizenship to six minority communities — Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians — who arrived in India on or before December 31, 2014 from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan where they faced religious persecution.
The new citizenship law came into force on January 10 after it was passed by the Parliament on December 11, 2019, and later got President Ram Nath Kovind’s assent on December 12.
It amends Section 2 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, stating that the six non-Muslim communities who entered India from the three Muslim-majority countries on or before December 31, 2014, and who have been “exempted by the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, or from the application of the provisions of the Froreigners Act, 1946, or any rule or order made thereunder, shall not be treated as illegal migrants for the purposes of this Act.”
There is an insertion of a new Section 6B in the CAA which mentions four specifics and one of them states that “the Central government or an authority specified by it in this behalf may, subject to such conditions, put restrictions and manners as may be prescribed, on an application made in this behalf, grant a certificate of registration or certificate of ‘naturalisation’ to a person referred to in the provison to clause (b) of sub-section (I) of Section 2.”
“Subject to fulfilment of the conditions specified in Section 5 or the qualifications for naturalisation under the provisions of the Third Schedule, a person granted the certificate of registration or certificate of naturalisation under sub-section (I) shall be deemed to be a citizen of India from the date of his entry into India,” it says.
The third specific of Section 6B suggests: “On and from the date of commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, any proceeding pending against a person under this section in respect of illegal migration or citizenship shall stand abated on conferment of citizenship to him.”
“Provided that such person shall not be disqualified for making application for citizenship under this section on the ground that the proceeding is pending against him and the Central government or authority specified by it in this behalf shall not reject his application on that ground if he is otherwise found qualified for grant of citizenship under this section.
“The person who makes the application for citizenship under this section shall not be deprived of his rights and privileges to which he was entitled on the date of receipt of his application on the ground of making such application,” it syas.
The final specification describes that “nothing” in this section “shall apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the area covered under ‘The Inner Line’ notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.”
There is an amendment to Section 7D of the Citizenship Act, 1955, in which clause (da) after clause (d) have been inserted. As per clause (da), “the Overseas Citizenship of India cardholder has violated any of the provisions of any other law for the time being in force as may be specified by the Central government in the notification published in the official gazette.”
Under 7D of the Citizenship Act, 1955, another provison shall be inserted after clause (f) that “provided no order under it shall be passed unless the Overseas Citizen of India cardholder has been given a reasonable opportunity of being heard.”
There is also an amendment to Section 18 of the principal Act — Citizenship Act, 1955 — in sub-section (2), after clause (ee) with insertion of clause (eei) which states “the conditions, restrictions and manner for granting certificate of registration or certificate of naturalisation under sub-section (I) of section 6B”.
The final ground states amendment to the Third Schedule of the principal Act, in clause (d), which says “provided that for the person belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, the aggregate period of residence or service of Government in India as required under this clause shall be read as ‘not less than five years’ in place of ‘not less than eleven years.’
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])